World Elephant Day
"Look out! Look out! Pink elephants on parade. Here they come! Hippety hoppety. They're here, and there. Pink elephants ev'rywhere!" ~ Pink Elephants, Dumbo (1941)
The term "seeing pink elephants", is a euphemism for a drunken hallucination. However, there are actual rare pink elephants, a natural albino variation, also sometimes referred to as "white elephants." Before this became the standard phrase, people were said to "see snakes" or "see snakes in their boots." By 1889 and throughout the 1890s, writers began to elaborate on the standard "snakes" idiom by describing drunken visions of "a pink and green elephant and feathered hippopotamus" as well as "the pink elephant with the orange trunk and the yellow giraffe with green trimmings." Whatever their colour, World Elephant Day is an international event dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world's elephants. 🐘🐘🐘
On August 12, 2012, the inaugural World Elephant Day was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet the number of elephants in the wild is dwindling. They are increasingly vulnerable in terms of illegal species harvesting and encroachment on their habitats.
There are many ways to support elephants, either by focussing on the plight and conservation of wild elephants or by helping to provide a better quality of life and sanctuary for rescued or abandoned elephants who have been raised or worked in captivity.
For many decades before "pink elephant" became the standard drunken hallucination, people were known to "see snakes" or "see snakes in their boots." Beginning in about 1889, writers made increasingly elaborate modifications to the standard "snakes" idiom. They changed the animal to rats, monkeys, giraffes, hippopotamuses or elephants, and added color – blue, red, green, pink – and many combinations thereof.
A well-known reference to pink elephants occurs in the 1941 Disney animated film Dumbo. Dumbo, having taken a drink of water from a bucket spiked with champagne, begins to hallucinate singing and dancing elephants in a segment known as "Pink Elephants on Parade".
For more about actual pink elephants, which do exist in nature as an albino (also called a white elephant) variation, click the baby albino elephant (which appears pinkish) seen with its mother at Kruger National Park, in South Africa, last March in 2016.