Sinhala & Tamil New Year: April 11-12
Sinhala & Tamil New Year is a public holiday in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka celebrates Sinhala & Tamil New Year. The date of the celebration may vary and may either fall on the 13th or the 14th of the month of April.
History of Sri Lanka’s Sinhala & Tamil New Year
The celebration of Sinhala & Tamil New Year was motivated by various religious influences in Sri Lanka, namely Buddhist and Hindu. However, it is believed that the celebration of New Year has existed long before the religions came into the scene. These religions have somehow penetrated the core of Sri Lankan culture and associated their rituals to thanksgiving after harvesting agricultural produce. However, most of the mythological background of the festival has touch of Hindu religion.
Sri Lankan’s also connect the date and timing of the festivity during the mating season of a bird endemic in the region – Asian Koel. The signature “koo-ooo” call of the male Koel bird dominates the tree-saturated portion of the country signaling the bird’s looking for a mate.
Sri Lanka’s Sinhala & Tamil New Year: Traditions, Customs and Activities
The celebration of Sinhala & Tamil New Year may officially lasts for seven days but still depends on the family’s social and economic status. People, young and old, take part in religious celebrations as a thanksgiving for a year of bountiful harvest.
This celebration is a time when people wear their best or newly bought dress for the new year. Traditional Sri Lankan food is served which are shared by family members and the visiting relatives. Coconut-based sweets and delicacies are also popular during the holiday.
A great number of Sri Lankan families in major cities and towns across the country usually stay in hotels and rather eat in restaurants to celebrate the new year.
One tradition that is linked to Sinhala & Tamil New Year is the parents’ anointing of oils to their children a symbol for blessing their children for a plentiful and abundant new year ahead. Fireworks abound and lit up the sky at night.