News Center -TDO - Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations were held at the embassy, hosted by Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Turkey Mohamed Rizvi Hassen.
The celebrations were attended by a small number of guests due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
After the celebrations, which were quite fun, guests were offered Sri Lankan delicacies.
Sinhala and Tamil New Year
“Aluth Awurudda” or “Puththandu” is celebrated by the Sri Lankans mainly by the “Sinhalese” & “Tamil” communities along with other Sri Lankan communities during the month of April annually.
According to the beliefs, the “New Year” marks the movement of the sun from the zodiac house of ‘pisces’ to the house of ‘aries’. Further Sri Lanka was a country mainly relying on agriculture and this period is mark the ending of one phase of the main harvesting season.
Generally, the new year falls on 13th or 14th April and astrologists schedule the auspicious time for main rituals. The main rituals/customs are given below as per the order of occurrence.
Bathing for the passing year and viewing the old moon
Rituals connected with the new year commence with bathing on the last day of the “old year/passing year’ and viewing the moon on the same night. This falls on the 12th April, which is the last day of the passing year. Mostly people engage with religious observances on this day.
The dawn of the New Year and the transition/ neutral time
The ending of the old year and the beginning of the new year, which starts when the sun starts to cross the astrological boundary between the ‘house of Pisces’ and ‘house of Aries’ and ends when the crossing is complete. The halfway point between this transition movement (Sankranthi) is considered as the dawn of the new year. This period is referred to as the “Nonagathaya” (neutral period). During this time, people devote their time in performing religious activities.
Preparing food has been another prominent element. Before preparing food, the new year is celebrated/welcomed by boiling milk in a new pot symbolizing prosperity as the spillover of milk from all sides of the pot. After that milk rice and other traditional delicacies are prepared.
Commencement of work (Ganu Denu) and having food
In symbolic manner people start their work during the auspicious time. Further, greet/worship the elders by giving sheaf of betel leaves. While offering betel leaves the new year gifts are also presented. The elders give their blessings for the young ones for the coming year. Afterwards, family sit for the new year meal table which decorates with milk rice and other traditional delicacies. The core of the ritual is to mark the harmony and togetherness of the family. After the basic rituals are over the villagers begin to visit immediate relatives, neighbors & friends.
5. Applying oil on head and bathing-purification for the coming year
Applying oil on heads is another ritual that is associated with the new year festival. In any cases it is the most eldest family member/ religious dignitaries who anoints the herbal oil prescribed specifically for the year on the heads of the others.
4. Leaving for jobs
After the main rituals conducted for 02 or 03 days, the people begin their normal work at a set auspicious time and return to their normal routine.