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Sri Lankan New Year Festival

Published by Crazy Travel — 3 years ago

0 Tags: Erasmus experiences Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan New Year Festival is named as “Sinhala Hindu aluth aurudda”, giving the meaning of Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Traditional Sri Lankan new year take place in 14th of April of each year instead of first of January. Sri Lankans celebrate the transition of the Sun from Pisces to Aries as the new year on 14th of April and count it as a one year from March to April. During this period, Sri Lankans get at least three to five days of vacation for all the government and private employees.

This is a huge event, which is celebrated all over the country regardless of the religion with lot of funny events and following the traditional rituals on the auspicious time. Due to the fact, the whole country become one village during this period. Everyone celebrate this event by respecting to traditional events and Sri Lankan culture. According to that, there are several auspicious events which take place during the whole week of the new year.

Those events could be named as Bathing for the Old Year, The Dawn of the New Year, Punya Kalaya (inauspicious time), Lighting the earth and preparation of meals, exchanging money and the first meal of New Year, anointing oil, Leaving for work. All these events would be taken place in each house at the auspicious time in order to wish the prosperity.

Important traditions of the New Year

Normally, people clean all the houses and repaint them before the new year. Then they get ready for the new year by preparing all the types of traditional Sri Lankan sweets such as Kaum, Kokis, Aluwa etc. The day before the new year they take a bath and prepare themselves to go to the temple and pray for the new year. Most of the time, they engage in religious activities and wait for the new year dawn without doing other important things. On 14th of April when the sun raises at the new year dawn everyone gets ready to follow the new year activities. When the auspicious time arrives to light the earth, they start to boil the coconut milk in the house before doing anything in order to wish the prosperous and the happiness to the whole family and the nation. Then they start to cook the milk rice, which is a famous meal in Sri Lanka. The whole family gather and wait for the next auspicious time, which is for eating. Then youngers and elders share gifts with each other and start to eat.

According to the tradition, most of the Sri Lankan families send sweet plated and gifts to the neighbors to enhance the peace and harmony between each other. After following all the rituals, the younger generation go to elder relative’s places and wish them a new year by worshiping to elders according to Sri Lankan tradition.

Traditional new year meals and sweets

Milk rice – which is the main meal of the new year. It will be prepared by using coconut milk and rice. Normally, Sri Lankan prefer to eat it with lunumiris, which is a spicy paste, prepared by chili flakes and onions. But, according to our preferences we can eat milk rice with banana, sugar, honey and many other sweet things.


Basically, Kaum, Kokis, Aluwa, Munkaum, Athirasa are the most famous sweets during this period. But today, people prepare different types of cakes and other European sweets in order to celebrate this new year event.

Fun events of the New Year

As a symbol of sharing and the happiness of each family, they usually send a sweet plate to all the neighboring houses and relatives. Besides that, young people organize traditional new year game festivals all around the island regardless of the nationality and the religion. All the young people participate in these new games. If you are in Sri Lanka during this period, I would recommend you enjoying Sri Lankan sweets and participate in new year games, which gives you so much fun.

New Year games

Traditional new year games can be named as Kaba adima, grees gahe nagima, kana mutti bidim etc. At the end of these events, winners receive the gifts. Although I have mentioned the traditional games above, today there are lot of new games such as catching the egg, filling the water to the bottle, etc.

Kaba adima- this is an event which took place among the strongest men in the ancient past to test their strength. But today, both men and women participate in this game. In the event, organizers provide a strong rope to two groups, with at least ten contestants. Then they have to pull the rope to the opposite side and grab the other group to the own side by grabbing the rope. Then, the strongest group will be the winner at the end.

Sri Lankan new year festival.


Greese gahe nagima- In this case, there is a huge tree without branches and leaves with a huge layer of slippery thing all over the trunk. Then on the top of this tree, there is a red flag which should be taken by the participants after climbing up the tree. The one who gets this flag will be the winner of the event.

Kana mutti bidima - There are several pots filled by different things such as water, sweets, flowers, etc. All the pots have been hanged on the top of a bar and the contestants have to hit the pot with a stick after folding their eyes. Then, when the contestant hit the right pot, which is the one with the flowers, he wins the game.

Sri Lankan new year festival.


Aurudu kumariya therime - This is a famous event among young beauties from the ancient times. All the young girls can participate in a beauty pageant wearing the traditional Sri Lankan dress. The most beautiful lady will be the winner of this game, while men hold a separate pageant for them by the name of Aurudukumera, which means the prince of new year.


All these games were created in the ancient past to increase the peace and harmony between people and also to show the strengths of the men, while ladies show their beauty and the cooking abilities.


During the last decades, Sri Lankans wear traditional dresses on the new year day even if the youngest generation in nowadays world does not follow the same pattern. But still we can see these dress codes in the rural and traditional Sri Lankan villages even today. But still, people are tending to wear the recommended colour, which is given by the astrologist, on the new year day. This colour is recommended by the astrologist due to the auspicious times. Wearing these colors, they expect to reach the prosperity and the happiness in the new year.

If you are going to visit Sri Lanka during the new year season, then you can enjoy lot of fun activities and traditional meals, while acknowledging about the Sri Lankan culture and the tradition.

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