Sinhala and Tamil New Year
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When the sun moves from the Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aries) in the celestial sphere; Sri Lankans begin celebrating their New Year or Aluth Avurudhu (in Sinhala) and Puththandu (in Tamil). It marks the end of the harvest season and also coincides with one of 2 instances when the sun is directly above Sri Lanka. On the day of celebrations, the sun is directly above Koggala (where a sun devale can be found). A new year of the Saka era begins with each festival.

Cultural rituals begin shortly after the beginning of the New Year with the cleaning of the house and lighting of an oil lamp. In some communities, women congregate to play upon on the raban (drum) to warn others of the incipient change in the year - from lighting the fire to making the kiribath, (milk rice) to entering into the first business transaction and eating the first morsels, Once these are done, the partying really begins as families mingle in the streets, homes are thrown open and children are let out to play. The ubiquitous plantain is dished out alongside celebratory feasts of kaung (small oil cake) and kokis (crisp and light sweetmeat, originally from the Netherlands).

Aurudu has become an important national holiday for both the cultures of the Sinhalese Buddhists and the Tamil Hindu Sri Lankans, and is unique as such, as it is not celebrated in the same manner elsewhere in the world.

 
 
SUBA ALUTH AWURUDDAK WEWA! happy new year!
   
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  Article by : Christine Padidilian

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