The New Year festival of Sri Lanka – A series of traditional customs

The new year in Sri Lanka represents prosperity and the reaping of the harvest. The Asian koel has a strong association with this festivity as the mating season of this bird coincides with the season.

File:Lighthouse-Galle(js).jpg

Jerzy Strzelecki, Lighthouse-Galle(js), CC BY 3.0

History of the festival
The history of this festivity is one that’s heavily influenced by the Buddhist and Hindu religions of Sri Lanka. However, certain people believe this celebration existed even before the religions came into being, but this piece of information has been buried with years of history.

The Astrological concept
It’s believed that geographical reasons together with planetary movements decided the date to be April 14 as the date to celebrate. Based on the sun’s movement from the House of Pisces to the House of Aries, Sri Lanka welcomes the new year. Most of the mythological background of the Sinhala and Tamil new year has a touch of Hindu religion.

What happens during this time?
You’ll see all sorts of celebrations in every corner of the island, from several Galle hotels such as the Fortress Resort and Spa to other locations! People of all ages, the old and young take part in the celebrations. Paying respect to elders, exchanging gifts, applying oil and several other customs are followed on the day of new year. Everyone also engages in traditional games and activities during this time, along with enjoying tasty traditional new year food!