Ceylon's New York - the date varies annually - was celebrated this year on Apr 13 with traditional religious rites, meals, and games.
Ceylon's New York - the date varies annually - was celebrated this year on Apr 13 with traditional religious rites, meals, and games. Co-incidence of New Year with completion of harvesting lends extra gaiety to this festival.
Sinhalese begin the day by visiting a temple, where many make offerings of flowers, hoping for a successful New Year. Later, each family dons new clothes and gathers for a special meal. The senior member serves his kinsfolk with a portion of "Kiribath" - boiled rice mixed with thick coco-nut milk - and says a blessing over each.
When the meal is digested, active pleasures follow. Putting aside modern games - like hockey and cricket - the Sinhalese revert to traditional sports; good-natured but normally slow-moving oxen are conscripted for ox-cart races; and women turn an everyday task into pleasure - seeing who is the fastest coco-nut-scraper.