The first of the Sri Lankan medallists at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia, weightlifters Indika Dissanayake, Dinusha Hansani Gomes and Chaturanga Lakmal Jayasuriya who won Silver and Bronze medals arrived in the country.
Sri Lanka’s Ishan Bandara has won the Men’s 52 KG Boxing quarter final against Lesotho’s Thabo Molefe at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Bandara now advances to semi final rounds, and is assured of a medal whatever the outcome of the semi finals be.
An independent committee will be appointed by Higher Education Minister Kabhir Hashim to propose a common salary structure for the university nonacademic staff that is on strike over several demands.The Co-Chairman of the University Joint Trade Unions Alliance Gayan Nimesh Perera said the independent committee is to forward its proposals to the minister within three months.
The Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia got off to a great start today (April 10), with Sri Lanka advancing through in the qualifying rounds of various sporting categories. Thiwanka Ranasinghe won the quarterfinals of the 46 – 49KG weight class Men’s Boxing event. He will now proceed to the quarterfinals. Ranasinghe is assured of a medal as there is no third place match in boxing, the players defeated in the semi-finals will be awarded bronze medals.
The three Royal Thai Navy ships; “Bangpakong”, “ Makutrajakumarn” and “ Pattani” that arrived at the port of Colombo on 6th April departed the port of Colombo on successful completion of the events of their four day tour, (9th April).
The State Vesak Festival this year will be held at the Devagiri Rajamaha Viharaya in the Kurunegala district on April 28 and 29 to mark the birth of Prince Siddartha, his enlightenment and the Buddha’s Parinirvana, Buddha Sasana Minister and Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera yesterday said.
Continuing their national endeavor in contributing to the agricultural development of the country, the Sri Lanka Army commenced work on two more irrigation tanks in the Pollonnaruwa District on 04th (April). According to Army media, troops had begun clearing and renovation work on the 'Meewathpura' and 'Chirana' tanks in the region.
The National Aluth Sahal Mangalya, one of the most venerated ancient agricultural rituals to offer the inaugural harvest to the triple gems of Buddhism, was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the historical Jaya SrI Maha Bodhiya in Anuradhapura this morning (8).The event had been organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Services for the 51st time under the guidance of Chief Incumbent of Atamasthana Ven. Pallegama Sirinivasa Nayaka thero; where sacred Sri Maha Bodhiya was offered with maiden harvest of Maha season following a traditional customary.
A large number of farmers from different parts of the country were present at the traditional ceremony. Blessings were invoked, for the country and the nation, at the event, with the wishes of timely showers, bountiful of harvest and prosperous economy for the country, the President’s Media Division said. President who attended the Aluth Sahal Mangalya initially paid homage at the sacred Sri Maha Bodhiya, and obtained blessings. Afterwards, the venerable Maha Sangha were offered a bowl filled with toxin-free indigenous variety of rice.The pure honey bowl traditionally offered to the sacred Jayasri Maha Bodhiya was handed over to the President by Uruwarige Wannila Aththo.
The President handed over the identity cards to the members of the Sri Lanka National Farmers’ Organization Federation. President also distributed endemic varieties of seed paddy that are identical for respective provinces to farmers who represented all the provinces of country.
Making a five-day training and goodwill visit, three Royal Thai Naval Ships arrived in the country on Friday (06th April). The ships, HTMS Bangpakong, Makutrajakumarn and Pattani were accorded a traditional welcome upon their arrival at the Colombo Port by the Sri Lanka Navy.
If a person has had the good fortune of spending one’s childhood in the bosom of a traditional Sinhala village, he or she will invariably feel a keen and pleasant tinge of nostalgic ache, when the word “Avurudu” is mentioned.A thrilling sensation will touch his inner being, however much that person is now advanced in years, from those early, free and untrammelled days.n those far off days-the joy and the feel of which, have now vanished into thin air - New Year was a highly engrossing folk-festival. Months ahead of the festival, nature’s heralds, keep the rural community informed of the arrival of the New Year.
In the early years of the Twentieth Century, the Sri Lankan villagers were innocent of sophisticated modes of communication. Even if a stray newspaper made its way into the village, its use was strictly restricted.The traditional villager’s trust in nature, was unflinching. The Erabadu tree blossomed forth in red, signalling that the New Year is nigh. The koel – flitted through the village, announcing the good tidings of New Year’s arrival. The villager kept track of these nature’s messages and went about setting the stage for the festival in the offing.
The regularity of the koel, is exceptionally surprising. Even in the city, I could not help but feel pleasantly amazed, when the koel awakened us to the festive season with its soothing tones. (strangely enough, this year the city koel was a wee-bit late for duty – I assumed that even he is too busy nowadays, distracted by the unusual hum-and-buzz that overwhelms urban life). The toilers of the soil, have their harvest brought home, in time for the New Year repast. Folk rituals associated with the propitiation of Gods for the bounty of a bumper harvest, are at times deemed part of the New Year festival. Many facts of the New Year festival in villages, are taken care of by the village temples. The document setting down the auspicious hours for ritual-items is distributed by the village astrologers. But, when everything is said and done the most humane aspect of the New Year, is the family reunion – which is decidedly a ‘core’ ritual of the Sinhala New Year.
Most persons from the deep South, display a marked proclivity to leave home, and seek success at distant destinations. (one cannot help but wonder whether this is a vestigial residence of the Aryan “wanderlust”). The Sinhala New Year, is primarily a children-focused festival. Each household is keen to nurture the ‘Avurudu’ spirit, in the young ones.
A vivid memory I cherish, is the urge I had as a child, to amass as many fire-crackers as possible, ahead of New Year’s Day. When I am taken to visit a household, I am quite certain the host will present me boxes of crackers. In those early days, fire-crackers came to us from China, in elegant packs. I had an urge to hoard them, before firing.
At this stage, it is quite apt to take a historical view of the New Year festival. Initially, the New Year festival possesses a hoary past, since it is one of the oldest festival of mankind. The ancient man, lived in great intimacy with Nature. In summer, the world around him offered him all the things he needed, with overwhelming lavishness. The earth was fertile. Streams flowed, at a pleasing rhythm. Birds were always on the wing. Game was widely available. Hunger and thirst fully satiated, the ancient man felt happy.
But, in the fall – autumn – the green leaves turned colour and fell to the ground. The trees withered. The whole world was covered in snow. Game was gone. Streams were still. Ancient man was devastated. Tormented by hunger and thirst, the ancients thought, the God of Nature was dead. They wept, lamented.
But, gradually, the earth began to green. Trees flourished. Food was once again available. The ancients, rejoiced at the new birth of the God of Nature. With the risen God, they started a new life-cycle.
In our New Year rituals, we still have those twin aspects. In the old year, hearths are not kindled. Food is not taken. The moderns do not weep and lament. But, at shrines they perform rituals.When the God has reawakened they rejoice in the New Year. Bouquets and lavish repasts are held. All transactions are newly initiated. Games, both indoor and outdoor, articulate the newly won New Year joy. This is the ‘secret’ of the so-called ‘Nonagata’ period of austerity. We in our ultra-modern way, relive the experience of those ancient proto-humans. In the traditional villages, the preparation of the New Year repast, assumed the sanctity of a sacred ritual. The women-folk take charge of the food department. The complicated process of food preparation, brought out the whole range of culinary skills of the women folk of the village. The artificial ripening of the banana, in a hole dug in the ground, was a display of a kind of rustic science.
The New Year Sinhala smorgasbord offers a bewildering range of indigenous cuisine. Kiribath – (milk-rice), Ke-um, rice-cake, kokis are staples. Various pickles, fish-preparations and curries, supported the main rice-dish.
Of all these Sri Lankan food items, I count ‘Kiribath’ as my distinct special choice. Please allow me, present a minor ode to kiribath, that adorns the New Year table everywhere. In the culinary psyche of all races, a special dish is enthroned as their mass delight for all seasons. The favourite item may not necessarily be a five-star goodie that could swoon elite gourmet foodies. But, on the other hand it could very well be humble, simple or just plain-like Sri Lanka’s milk-rice kiribath. In Sri Lanka, kiribath comes into its own, during the New Year season. It is presented with embul-thiyal fish dish, pickles, or sambol, fiery salad leavened with Maldive-fish. When I was young, my mother lad a way of presenting kiribath, with a spicy dried-fish preparation. Although this particular preparation is still deeply embedded in my inner taste-portfolio, I have no memory of its recipe.
In its sociological implications, the Sinhala New Year Festival is a unique mechanism of pragmatic social integration. The specific ritual – moments associated with New Year, are held at various pre-planned times, by the total population, simultaneously. When the auspicious moment arrives to partake of the New Year Meal, the totality of nation, begins the ritual at one specific moment. Such auspicious moments, brought the whole community together, all performing the rituals exactly at the same time. In those by-gone eras, bereft of such mass media as the Radio and the TV, the masses were alerted by the temple bells. A morally exalting facet of the New Year Festival is the worship of the elders. Offering a sheaf of ritual betel leaves, the young ones honour their seniors. Old simmering grudges are forgotten. Unity is, wholesomely restored.