Celebrate Sinhalese New Year 2017 in typical Lankan Style
The month of April is when the Sinhala and Tamil New Year is celebrated in Sri Lanka and is an important national holiday. During this month, nature is at its best with blooming flowers, fresh leaves on trees, birds in the air, greenery everywhere and plenty of fruits and vegetables available. Everywhere you go you will see the traditional sweetmeat being distributed, the cry of Koha and the sound of raban, all of these symbolize the celebration of the upcoming national festival.
Plan your visit to Sri Lanka during the month of April to experience the celebrations in authentic Sri Lankan style. Be sure to make advanced bookings with travel agents such as Blue Lanka Tours because this is peak holiday season and transport and accommodation will be hard to find if you have not made your reservations. In the 2017 calendar, schedule your visit according to the following April holidays:
· Monday 10th April — Bak Full Moon Poya Day
· Thursday 13th April — Day prior to Sinhala and Tamil New Year Day
· Friday 14th April — Sinhala and Tamil New Year Day
The New Year, known as “Aluth Avurudda” in Sinhalese, signifies the gathering of the harvest and social customs, particularly that of the farming community. The ‘Maha’ (major) harvest is celebrated by giving thanks. This is done by visiting relations, greeting them with a leaf of betel and exchanging presents. The children receive blessings from parents. There is an aroma of goodwill and friendship among family and friends during this festival time.
Rituals involve a herbal bath on the day prior to the New Year Day and viewing the moon on that same night. From neighboring Temples you can hear the pealing of bells and beating of drums to announce that the time has come to perform the aforementioned rituals. These rituals and traditions exhibit the beliefs and thoughts of the people who live a life centered around that of agriculture and farming.
During this season, every household gets busy in preparing sweetmeats such as kokis, kevum, atirasa, aluva, aggala and asmi. Every hotel that you visit during the holiday season will also have a spread of these sweetmeats. Hotels will also bring you in the spirit of the “Aluth Avurudda” by organizing some traditional games such as mevara sellama, olinda keliya, eluvan keliya, buhu keliya, raban upatha, mee sellama and much more.
Each household will have an “Avurudu Kumaraya” (prince) arriving in a horse-drawn carriage to symbolize the dawn of the New Year. On the morning of the New Year, milk is boiled in a fresh clay pot and the milk is allowed to boil over the pot as a symbol of prosperity. Kiribath (milk rice) is the traditional meal prepared on the morning of the New Year.