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Sunday, 10 April 2016

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Festive fever everywhere

Nestled in natural surroundings, the farmers are active with the golden harvest of the Maha Season. Majestic trees are full of greenery with numerous fresh fruits like cashew and mango.

Erabadu trees are in full bloom with dazzling flowers. Swings for children is a common sight in the village environment. The cuckoo in his ringing tone is heralding their message to the much awaited crowds for the dawn of their mighty wish - to celebrate the feast of feasts. Against this scenic backdrop emerges the most blissful day - The Sinhala - Hindu New Year. The joyous national festival said to be the oldest among humanity.

Sinhala Hindu New Year is celebrated the world over by their respective races but enjoyed by the others too. This is the most looked-forward-to event in the early part of a year, coming down from generations. This national festival falls in April once in a 365 day cycle considering the transition of the sun from Meena rashi (Pisces) to Mesha rashi (Aries) as an auspicious event. This is most welcome news to both Buddhists and Hindus in Sri Lanka, which has been given pride of place in the calendar.

History records that this event was celebrated with pomp and grandeur by the ancient royalty. This has come down the ages adding charm and splendour. Also, the role played by the New Year is reflected in the annals of history reviving the national and cultural heritage of the country. New Year celebrations are always attracted by local and cultural traditions upholding indigenous social fabric. There is always a conscious effort among the elderly to preserve the indigenous customs.

Excitement

The events connected with the New Year are many. In both town and village they paint, whitewash and refurbish their houses and prepare for the occasion in a big way. There is festive fever everywhere, buying gifts new clothes and other requirements.

The excitement of the village, the young is beyond explanation. For the hard working males, the young, it is a short break from the busy urban life, visiting parents and relatives and enjoying the delightful event.

The village is a hive of activity. Specially the women folk preparing traditional sweetmeats and cuisine, bedum and pickles with Avurudu flavour, in short spreading new year scent throughout the house radiating happiness, joy and cheer. To the young, particularly children, it is a time of sport and fun.

They engage themselves in games such as swinging, Pancha demeema, kotta pora, climbing the grease pole, tug-o'-war, gudu and also games using cashew nuts. April or Bak Maha has gone down history as the month of delight and prosperity.

Traditions

This national festival is celebrated islandwide in festive spirit with a series of traditional games organised and enjoyed by the youth. It is nothing but Bak Maha Ulela. This is significant to one and all as everyone awaits with great eagerness the dawn of the New Year.

April also ushers in its countless blessings as regards household traditions with peace and joy in their hearts and hearths. As mentioned earlier the travelling route of the sun has a great importance determining the auspicious times, which are observed to the very letter.

The New Year table is laid carefully for the entire family to enjoy food at an auspicious time. Worshipping the parents and respecting the elders come next. Greeting them with a sheaf of betel, they go down on their knees for the purpose. Money transactions (ganu denu) are also done at the same time.

They make a visit to the temple too. During 'Nonagathe' time Buddhists seek the compassion of the Buddha to lead a happy and peaceful life.

These are things that speak silently about the New Year, which has become an impressive event of cultural value.

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