Many visitors to Sri Lanka at this time of year are curious to learn that on the island we celebrate New Year in April and not the 1st January. The advent of the New Year, is an astrological event, when the sun moves from the House of Pisces to the House of Aries, and whilst the date of the new Year falls on the 13th or 14th April, the actual time is dependent on the position of the sun.
At Living Heritage Koslanda we too follow the many rituals that are part of the dawning of the New Year for both the Sinhala (Buddhist) and Tamil (Hindu) faiths. The whole island however comes alive with the lead up to the New Year, and it’s a very important time of the year for family and friends to get together. Like many Buddhist and Hindu festivals, there are considered to be auspicious times to perform various rituals, and the New Year is ushered in by the lighting of the hearth, and the preparations of the new year dish (kiribath) and the boiling of a pot of milk, and the overflowing of the milk signals a year of joy and prosperity ahead. In Tamil homes the milk is used to make Pongal, a sweetened rice dish.
At Living Heritage Koslanda, we celebrate the New Year by combing the rituals of the Sinhala and Tamil communities – the milk boiling, followed by the lighting of the oil lamp, the sharing of the kiribath (a coconut milk and rice dish) symbolising the first breakfast of the New Year. A pooja is also held at the small Hindu kovil on the estate, where an offering is made to the gods.
After which sweets are offered, and the day is a festival of merriment and joy. Throughout Sri Lanka, once the rituals are done, the celebrations move out into the streets where various games and other fun filled activities happen. These traditional bring family, friends and neighbours together, in a day which is all about enjoyment and frivolity.
Happy New Year to you all from us!