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    The Far East is well known for its colourful pageants. One of them is Sri?

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    The Far East is well known for its colourful pageants. One of them is Sri Lanka's annual parade of the Dalada Maligawa it dates back to Sri Lanka's early kings.

    SYNOPSIS: Sri Lanka has been a place of unrest lately, with violence directed at the Tamil minority. Twenty five people are reported to have been killed in the disturbances, which began in the Northern Tamil town of Jaffna when police fired on a hostile crowd and killed four people. But for at least one pageant there was peace.

    A night curfew has been in operation throughout Sri Lanka since the trouble started a month ago, but the night processions were held as usual, in spite of the curfew. The pageant is held to commemorate the bringing of a tooth said to have belonged to, Buddha from India to the island's former hill capital of Kandy. This year, the event attracted thousands of devoted Buddhists and tourists who flocked to join in the celebrations.

    Elephants are very important in Sri Lanka - a special park has been opened for the baby animals in a bid to save the island's elephant population of 1,500 from extinction. One of elephants in this parade, Raja, is carrying the sacred tooth of the prophet in a golden casked mounted on its back. Scores of other elephants were decked out in colours rivalling for splendor those of the chieftains' ceremonial robes. More than 66 percent of Sri Lankans are Buddhists, which accounts for the popularity of such festivals.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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