Sri Lanka is known for its vibrant culture and traditions, and the Sinhala and Tamil New Year festival is a perfect example of that. This festival, which is celebrated in April, marks the beginning of the traditional new year in Sri Lanka. It is a time when families come together, and the country is filled with joy, color, and festivities.
The festival is based on the lunar calendar, and it usually falls between the 13th and 14th of April. The preparations for the festival begin several weeks before, and the excitement starts to build as the day approaches. The Sinhalese and Tamil communities celebrate the festival in their unique ways, but the underlying theme is the same: to welcome the new year with joy, happiness, and good fortune.
The Origins of the Festival
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year festival has its roots in ancient Sri Lankan culture. The festival was originally celebrated to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of a new agricultural year. The festival also has religious significance, as it is associated with the Buddhist and Hindu calendars. The festival is an important time for spiritual renewal and reflection.
Traditions and Customs
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year festival is a time for family and community. People clean their homes and decorate them with colorful lights and flowers. Traditional food is prepared, and everyone wears new clothes. The festival is a time for forgiveness and new beginnings, and people exchange gifts and greetings with each other.
One of the most important customs during the festival is the lighting of the hearth. This is done at an auspicious time determined by astrologers, and it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to the household. The hearth is lit with wood from a jackfruit tree, which is considered to be a sacred tree in Sri Lankan culture.
Another important tradition during the festival is the playing of traditional games. These games are usually played outdoors, and they are a time for fun and bonding with family and friends. Some of the popular games include “kotta pora,” a game where two teams try to break a clay pot filled with water, and “olinda keliya,” a game where a player hits a ball with a stick and runs between two bases.
Special Avurudu Sweets & Dishes
Food is also an important part of the festival. Traditional Sri Lankan dishes such as kiribath (milk rice), kevum (sweet fried cake), and kokis (crispy biscuits) are prepared and shared with family and friends. The festival is also a time for giving, and people donate food and money to those in need.
Traditional dishes are prepared and shared with family and friends during this time. Some of the popular dishes include:
- Kiribath – a dish made from rice cooked in coconut milk, which is often served with a spicy onion and chili sambol.
- Kavum – a sweet deep-fried cake made from rice flour and treacle.
- Kokis – crispy fried dough made from rice flour and coconut milk.
- Athirasa – a sweet doughnut-like snack made from rice flour and jaggery.
- Polos – a spicy jackfruit curry that is usually served with rice.
- Watalappam – a sweet dessert made from coconut milk, jaggery, and spices.
- Ambulthiyal – a sour fish curry made with goraka (a type of fruit).
In addition to these traditional dishes, many families also prepare special meals for the festival. It is common for families to prepare large feasts for their relatives and neighbors. Many families also visit each other’s homes during the festival to share food and spend time together.
Celebrations in Different Parts of Sri Lanka
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year festival is celebrated throughout Sri Lanka, but the celebrations vary depending on the region. In the southern parts of Sri Lanka, the festival is known as “Avurudu,” and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm. In the northern parts of Sri Lanka, the festival is known as “Puthandu,” and it is celebrated by the Tamil community.
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year festival is a time for joy, happiness, and new beginnings. It is a time when families and communities come together to celebrate their culture and traditions