Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 15 May 2011





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Vesak - a celebration of Buddha’s life

Buddhist all over the world celebrate Vesak since it is a religious festival of importance. The Birth, the Attainment of Buddhahood or Enlightenment and the Parinibbana (passing away) of the Buddha fall on this day. The Birth of the Buddha took place in Lumbini and His Enlightenment under a Bo-Tree also took place in India.

On this day, Buddhists go to the temple and offer flowers, light lamps and incense sticks.

During the Vesak season temples are very beautiful places to see. They are decorated with Buddhist flags, coconut oil lamps and colourful bulbs. Just like the temples, the streets and houses too are decorated and illuminated on this day with Buddhist flags, bright coloured lights, lanterns and buckets.

Many Buddhists engage in religious activities. They observe ‘Sil’ and meditate. They also give alms and help the needy people. Many go on a vegetarian diet during the Vesak season.

People construct colourful pandals in the town.

They also organise ‘dansals’ during this season. Children make beautiful lanterns.

People live in peace and harmony during this period.

Let us celebrate the festival of Vesak happily and peacefully.

Protect your eyesight

Our eyesight or vision is very important to us and we must take good care of our eyes.

There are many people including little children who are blind. Today the eyesight of many children are affected as a result of watching too much television.

According to experts, the television gives out rays which affect the eyesight. These effects can be either reduced or prevented if we follow correct procedures when watching television. We need to maintain a certain distance while watching television and avoid sitting very close to the TV. The harmful light rays cannot travel very far and affect our sight then.

Today not only adults, but also many children have to wear spectacles because they have poor eyesight mostly due to neglect. There are different kinds of spectacles. As there are people with various sight problems such as those who are unable to see things in the distance, they have to wear different glasses or spectacles.

There are glasses for reading only and others for both reading and improved vision. Some of these spectacles are very expensive, especially those that are made with lenses for all purposes such as to read, use for computer work as well as to see short or long distances.

If we neglect our eyesight we will not be able to do many things and also enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature or see our loved ones.

You can help improve your vision by eating carrots and green leaves. Minerals and vitamins are also important for good eye sight.

There are many parts in our eyes and some of them are the cornea, pupil, iris, lens, retina and the optic nerve. All these parts have to work well if we are to have good vision. The cornea which is tough and clear bends light rays and focuses them onto the lens. The lense is a jelly-like substance.

It too focuses light rays onto the retina.

All these parts of the eye help make pictures of the beautiful things we see around us.

Your eye is an energy charger; it turns light energy into electrical energy - tiny electrical signals. These signals travel along the optic nerve to the brain, and the brain identifies the picture and sends a message back to the eye through the optic nerve. This is how we see everything around us.

All children must remember to watch television from a safe distance and avoid developing vision problems.

My friend Shakthi

My best friend Shakthi is ten years old. She is in grade 5-A at Minu/ Godigamuwa M.V. She lives in Akaragama.

She has two brothers. I like her very much because she is very beautiful and kind. We play every evening.

The Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest in South America is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. It is several millions of square kilometres in extent. It covers some parts of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Equador, Colombia, Venezeula, Guiana, Surinam and French Guiana.

In the rainforest, the annual rainfall is 27 mm. There is a diverse vegetation in the Amazon rainforest.

Some trees reach a height of 40 metres while other smaller trees and shrubs grow under them. Some of the flora found here are ferns and exotic wild orchids. There are many economically important plants too and many are endemic to the forest.

The forest’s bio-diversity is unparalled. There are over 250 species of trees, over 1,500 species of birds, 3,000 known species of fish, and 30 million different insect species in the forest.Rapid population growth is a big threat to this rainforest. People destroy the rainforest for development. For economic advantages loggers cut down rare trees.

The expansion of agricultural lands and hunting are also a threat to the forest. About 10 per cent of the rainforest has been destroyed. We must protect this marvellous world heritage for our future generations.

Handicrafts of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a rich and varied heritage of traditional arts and crafts.

Handicrafts are very popular as they are turned out using age-old techniques and indigenous raw materials. Most of these products are made in the village homes of the craftsmen or at rural craft centres set up either by the Government of some private organisations in the villages. These hand crafted items incorporate a legacy of centuries old skills .

According to the ancient Indo-Aryan social system observed in the country, certain villages were assigned specific trades and pursuits going by the socio-economic status and the caste of the people.

Within these castes, these traditional skills were preserved with a distinct ethnic identity. However, with the increasing demand from export markets, certain modern trends in design and colour have been incorporated successfully with traditional craftsmanship, to turn out exquisite handicrafts today.

Most of the traditional handicrafts such as the masks are highly sought after, especially by tourists. The vivid colour combinations such as red, green and yellow used in crafts such as the devil masks are very attractive.Visitors from foreign countries can purchase these handicrafts or see a rich array of them at the Craft Village set up at the Folk Art Centre in Battaramulla.

As many of these traditional crafts which have come down from generations are dying out, a national Crafts Council has been set up to preserve these age-old crafts and help develop them by training instructors and providing guidance to the craftsmen.

We must take necessary steps to protect the dying art of handicrafts in our country.

A gift from Mother Nature

There are different kinds of trees in our world but every type of tree has its own value.

The coconut tree is a very valuable tree to many of us.It is a versatile tree.

The scientific name of the tree is Cocus nusipera.’It grows well in the coastal areas of the country.The coconut tree is one of the main cash crops of Sri Lanka. Every part of the tree is used for some purpose or the other.

People use the trunk of the coconut tree as rafters to construct roofs. The branches are used to thatch roofs. Dried coconut leaves and other parts are used as firewood. Various items made from coconut shells and husks are popular among foreigners and locals.

We export some of the things that are made from different parts of the coconut tree and earn a large income.Oil is a valuable produce extracted from coconut kernel.

Sri Lankan housewives use coconuts, especially the milk, to make delicious food. Coconut trees are useful because they help stop soil erosion. Mother Nature has given us many valuable gifts and the coconut tree is one of them.


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