New Year rekindles lustre of life
The white feathered dove is the symbol of peace the world over.
For the Tamils and Sinhalese there is also another bird which is a
symbol of joy and peace the ‘Koha’ with its long drawn stuccato chirrup
is the precursor of new year.
Many countries specially Asia have their own new years day.
In 1582, the Gregorian calendar gave the world a calendar.
The movement of planets is an integral component in the planning of
the event. Astronomy and Astrology join hands to produce the auspicious
There is auspicious time to visit a place of worship, to thank the
one's in whom we believe for favours received, for contentment and peace
in the future.
The lighting of the hearth, now, it is the non smoking, soot free
instant gas cooker, kiribath, kavum, lunumiris, athirasa, kaludodal,
kokis, mung kavum, bananas and many more, are the sweet meats enjoyed on
The tables of our Tamil brethren will have pongal rice wadai,
murukku, halva, and many more chillie laced sweetmeats.
The taste of all the fried food will lose its glamour and history
unless fried in coconut oil. Fly away corn oil, fly away palm oil. The
eldest in the family tastes the first morsel most affectionately, offer
them to the others.
In the days gone, the raw material had to be manually grounded. Women
folk in serious chatter. Then, work becomes a family function. Raw rice,
and mung seed in the mortar being pounded away in doubles or singles
with the pestle, swaying their hips with an abundance of jokes, sweat
The granite kurahangala is an added help to the overworked mortar and
pestle. No blenders and grinders. No powdered coconut milk and lentils.
The men, cleaning the compound, painting the sweet home, dreaming of
the chats and singing with friends and of course dear Bacchus, who has
to acceed to all invitations. Children at play smacking their lips.
Yummy, yummy food round the corner.
For the happy elders, cholesterol, blood sugar and lipid profiles and
osteophorosis were unheard of. Indeed, with all the bending end body
movements. Where were the present day ailments then?
A carnival comes to town, An added strain on the purses and New year
bonus. But who cares. We are Sri Lankans.
All this amidst crackers unlimited. On new years day, the Rabana is
warmed played many round it on stools.
At times played with the elbow, fascinating. ‘Uda palagaththath
wattakka’ Bima palagaththath wattakka” Many many lovely rhythms.
Many shops remain closed. Hisathel or anointing by the elders or at
times by the incumbent village temple take place at the auspicious time
Even our beloved and faithful domiciled quadrupeds and the gentle
giants, our very own elephants are anointed. A poignant, happy moment.
Here, it must be remembered that for us Asians, there are no days set
aside as thanksgiving, father, mother, elders or lovers.
For us every day, is a special day in honouring the above terrestrial
New year day is a multifaceted day – where love, laughter,
brotherhood, hope become one. We salute our elders. No shake hands,
embraces or pecks on the cheeks.
We prostrate at the feet of our elders, touch them with reverence.
The elders caress the head-sometimes with a lump in their throat. No,
phones, Emails, SMS or Skype.
The eyes and physical touch only.
Then the games. Gudu, Pancha with sea-shells, hop-scotch climbing the
greasy pole, coconut scraping competitions and cadjan thatching.
But the most looked forward to competion is the selection of the
Avurudhu Kumari. Panchakalyani.” Tresses upto the ankles, face of Helen
Yes! Instead of a thousand ships, as always. Many green-eyed monsters
will take off towards the winner.
A woman's natural, enigmatic charm. A touch of powder, Natural eye
brows. Here Elizabath Arden, Max factor Hollywood and all other paints
and skin abrasives can take a holiday.
‘Ganudenu’ Banks open at the auspicious time. Its back to work.
Memories and prayers.
Those in whom we believe have made us happy in diversity.
They will never forsake the people of this resplendent isle - the
pearl of the Indian Ocean, will never lose its lustre.