December 06, 2019
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    Army Flags blessing ceremony held at Kirivehera & Kataragama

    October 07, 2014
    A representative gathering of senior officers, officers and other ranks of the Army which is set to mark its 65th Anniversary and the Army Day (Oct 10), headed by Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, Commander of the Army, was in Kataragama Monday (6) evening in order to conduct one more segment of the series of religious ceremonies, meant to receive blessings on the Army and all its members.
     
    With symbolic flags of all Army Regiments, Security Force Headquarters, Training Schools, Divisions, Brigades, formations and units, members of the Army paraded thrice round the Kirivehera in devotion, preceded by Hewisi drummers soon after the Chief Guest of the day's event, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, arrived at the Kirivehera premises. Religious observances were then administered by the Kirivehera Vihardhipathi, invoking blessings of the Triple Gem on the Army and its forward-march.
     
     
    Records confirm that this was the second time in the Army history, an elaborate anniversary ceremony of this magnitude was conducted in Kataragama as a symbol of deep veneration to Buddha's Uddesika relics, where the sword that Prince Siddhartha, cut his hair off at the time of his renunciation, is believed to have been enshrined in this historic Kirivehera stupa (pagoda) and later on the Ashtapala Bodhiya at the Devaala precincts. Built by the famous King Mahasena, Kirivehera is twice honoured as it was the place where the Buddha during his 3rd visit to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC, paused here before proceeding to Tissamaharamaya, according to buddhist chronicles.
     
     
    Paying deep reverence at first to the legendary sacred Kirivehera stupa at Kataragama, and seeking divine blessings of the Kataragama deity, Skande - Murukan who commands the utmost respect of both Sinhalese and Hindus alike as a guardian deity, hundreds of flag-bearing all ranks in the Army, headed by Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, Commander of the Army Monday (6) evening, took part in the final segment of Buddhist ceremonies, prior to the Army Day.
     
     
    The colourful procession with flags, holding aloft, wended its way to the Kataragama Devaalaya premises where the flags were again blessed at the foot of the sacred Ashtapala Bodhiya, said to have been planted during the reign of the King Dutu Gemunu soon after his victory over the Chola King, Elaara. The procession venerated the Bodhiya after parading around it thrice with Shabda Pooja (traditional drums) reverberating.
     
     
    A special Pooja at the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devaalaya minutes after the senior officers delivered the flags for symbolic blessings, culminated the day's event, attended by the Chief of Staff and a host of senior officers and other ranks.(SLArmy/KH)
     
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