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Sunday, 10 April 2016

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Dawn of the Sinhala and Hindu New Year

In Sinhala households

Household preparations are done in advance prior to the festival; homes are re-painted, floors are polished and kitchens are cleaned, making it clean and tidy to mark a new beginning. Sweetmeats are prepaired and new clothes are purchased.

As the sun exits Meena, people take the final bath of the old year. As the punya kalaya or nonagathaya (inauspicious time) begins all business and work related activities come to a halt. Everyone engages in spiritual activities by visiting temples.


Dawn of the New Year - Aluth Avurudu Udawa

The sound of firecrackers and the rhythm of the rabana (a one-sided traditional drum) signal that its the dawn of a new beginning Aluth Avurudda. As the New Year begins, families get ready for the rituals.

After the rituals various games and many other fun-filled activities begin.


The traditional pooja

The new year pooja is a conducted to thank the gods for the previous year and to seek their blessings for the forthcoming year. The housewife sets up the Kumbam - a silver pot with coconut on top adorned with mango leaves on the sides, along with fruits such as mangoes, jak, and a comb of bananas and sweets are laid in front of the gods as an offering. When the ceremonies are over at home, the families visit temples during the Punya Kaalam and take part in spiritual activities.


Kai visesham

The Kai Visesham is a ceremony during where the elders offer money to the young as the first financial transaction of the year which brings good luck.

In the evening various games such as Porthenkai (a game played with coconuts), uriyadi (pot-breaking), pole climbing and tug-o-war are conducted with the neighbours.


In Hindu households Morning of the New Year

At the dawn of the New Year, families rise early and collect Maruthu neer, a special water that contains a mix of herbal leaves and flowers such as lotus, pomegranate and a few others. This ritual is considered an act of purification and generally Maruthu neer is anointed at an auspicious time.

The spirit of New Year sets in when everyone in new clothes wish family and friends Puthandu Valthukkal (Happy New Year).

Later, families gather at the entrance to the house where a potful of milk is boiled. As the first rays of the new year fall, watching the milk overflow brings boundless joy into ones life. The milk is used to make pongal rice - a type of sweetened rice made in Hindu homes during festivals. The Pongal rice is made at a specific time when the sun moves from the Meena Rasi ( Pisces) to Mesha rasi (Aries).

Internet

[Auspicious times for the New Year]

* Dawn of the New Year - Avurudu Udawa - April 13 at 7.48 p.m.

* Religious Activity - Punya Kalaya - April 13 at 1.24 p.m. till April 14, 2.12 a.m.

* Preparing meals - Ahara Piseema - April 13 at 8.06 p.m. wearing green colour clothes and facing South.

* Taking meals - Ahara Anubavaya, Starting work - Weda Alleema and transactions- Ganu denu - April 13, 8.54 p.m. wearing green colour and facing South.

* Anointing oil - Hisa Thel Gaama - April 16, 10.41 a.m. wearing blue and facing West.

* Going to work - Rakee Raksha - April 18, 6.27 a.m. wearing white and facing East.

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