Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a country that celebrates its unique culture and traditions with great enthusiasm and zeal. One such celebration that showcases the island’s rich cultural heritage is the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Unlike other countries that celebrate New Year on January 1st, Sri Lanka follows the sun’s movement from the House of Pieces to the House of Aries, marking the start of a new year in April. The Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a time of religious rituals, family gatherings, and fun activities that are unique to Sri Lanka. This article explores the vibrant celebrations of Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka, highlighting the rituals, traditional sweets, games, and attire that make this festival special.
Rituals of Sinhala and Tamil New Year
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations in Sri Lanka start with a neutral period during which people engage in religious activities to seek blessings for the new year. This is followed by several unique rituals that are practiced by Sri Lankans to honor the God of Sun and bring prosperity to their households. Here are some of the rituals that make the Sinhala and Tamil New Year special and memorable:
01. Lighting the Hearth
The first ritual of Sinhala and Tamil New Year is lighting the hearth of the house to prepare milk rice, which is a must-have traditional dish on the new year feast that symbolizes prosperity. This ritual is called Lipa gini melaweema, and it is believed to bring blessings and good luck to the household.
02. First Meal at the Avurudu Table
Food plays a major role in the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations in Sri Lanka. A huge table with Kiribath, bananas, and sweets like kavum, kokis, thalaguli, aggala, aasmi, aluwa, and many other traditional sweets becomes the centerpiece of any house. Every family in Sri Lanka enjoys the feast at an auspicious time after lighting an oil lamp. This ritual is called Ahara anubawaya, and it is a time for families to bond over a delicious meal.
03. Starting Work and Exchanging Money
Once the family finishes the new year meal, people do some work to symbolize starting to work in the new year. This ritual is called Weda alleema, and it is believed to bring prosperity and success in the new year. Next, people perform transactions among family members and other respected parties and even with the well to thank for the clear water it had provided you during the last year. This ritual is called Ganu denu kireema, and it is a time to show gratitude and appreciation.
04. Anointing Oil
Here, a series of oils are anointed on people’s heads, young and old, to bless them with health and healing. This ritual is called Hisa thel gaama, and it is believed to bring good health and protection from illnesses in the new year.
Sinhala and Tamil New Year Sweets.
Food is an integral part of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebration, and tasting the traditional sweets is a must-do during your holiday in Sri Lanka. Here are some of the sweets you should try during the new year season:
When it comes to traditional sweets, Sri Lankan cuisine offers an extensive range of mouth-watering options. One of the most popular sweets during the new year season is “Kokis”, which is a crispy fried sweet made with rice flour and coconut milk. It has a unique shape and texture that makes it stand out from other traditional sweets. Another sweet that is enjoyed during the new year season is “Asmi”, which is a crunchy sweet that is topped with a caramel syrup.
“Mon kewum” is another popular sweet during the new year season. It is a diamond-shaped sweet that has a crunchy crust and a sweet paste made with sweetened green grams inside. This unique combination of crunchy and sweet is a hit among locals and visitors alike.
Sinhala and Tamil New Year Games.
Now, let’s move on to the games that are played during the new year season. “Rabana” is a large drum that is played by elderly females during happy occasions. People sit around the drum and play it while singing and dancing. It is a fun way to celebrate the new year and brings people together.
Another game that is popular during the new year season is “Olinda Keliya”, which is a board game that involves two or more players. The board is made of wood, and the pieces used in the game are natural, such as plant seeds and seashells. The objective of the game is to move the pieces strategically and capture the opponent’s pieces. “Pancha Demima” is another board game that is played during the new year season, and it involves five players.
Playing traditional games during the new year season is a great way to bond with family members and have fun. The games are easy to learn and are suitable for all ages. They provide a break from the hectic routines of everyday life and allow people to relax and enjoy the festivities.
Raban Keliya (Drum Playing)
The traditional attire worn during Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a significant part of the festival. Men wear sarongs with colorful shirts, while women wear a traditional Sri Lankan saree known as the ‘Osariya.’ The attire adds to the festive atmosphere and creates a sense of unity among the celebrants.
The Impact of Sinhala and Tamil New Year on Sri Lanka’s Economy:
Sinhala and Tamil New Year has a significant impact on Sri Lanka’s economy, especially in the food and tourism industries. The demand for traditional sweets and dishes during the festival season surges, leading to increased business for food-related businesses. Additionally, the tourism industry benefits from the influx of visitors who come to Sri Lanka to experience the festivities and culture.
Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a vibrant and unique festival that showcases the rich culture and traditions of Sri Lanka. From traditional sweets to games and attire, the festival is steeped in ancient customs and rituals passed down for generations. It’s an excellent time for families to come together and celebrate, and the festival