Celebrate New Year 2 times a year? Yes, this is possible and during a trip to Sri Lanka. Like many other cultures, the New Year (Avurudu) is celebrated here in the springtime. Namely on 13. or 14. April. And since I was there at that time, I also celebrated with a Sinhalese family, who invited me to the New Year and to this important holiday.
New Year in Sri Lanka – What you need to know
Sri Lanka simply blew me away with its uncanny simplicity and simplicity. The people there are really relaxed and polite. Many religions are practiced in Sri Lanka. These include, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and also Buddhism.
What religion you choose does not matter here and there is no rivalry or even lack of understanding, the Tamil New Year and holiday is celebrated here by everyone.
You think to yourself now: "Does she want to convert us??" No in any case. I got to know Sri Lanka as a very open country and I must say that Buddhism fascinated and touched me very much.
I have met many people in Sri Lanka and since I am very interested in unknown points of view, I have asked myself times by Buddhism and its the meaning for the people there.
Experience the traditional festival Avurudu in Sri Lanka
Coincidentally, we were in Sri Lanka on Sinhala New Year and experienced the associated customs. Buddhism is very widespread in Sri Lanka, about 70% of the population belongs to this faith. The rest is divided between Islam, Hinduism and Christianity.
The beauty of the Sinhala New Year is that all religions celebrate together and there are no exclusions. Everywhere in the country there is a festive mood and there are countless markets where special Tamil New Year sweets are sold. In addition to the sweets that make up a large part of the customs around the New Year, clothing is sold in quantities.
New Year in Sri Lanka – The preparations for Avurudu
Already 2 weeks before the New Year in Sri Lanka is started to make the house cleaning. Everything is washed, scrubbed and cleaned. This is supposed to drive away the evil spirits and bring new energies into the house. At the same time, sweets are also baked using rice flour, shredded coconut and coconut oil. These are very powerful, sweet and are definitely part of it.
New Year and for the holiday, it is part of good manners and also purity to put on new clothes. On the shopping streets, this custom is also loudly proclaimed, as large boxes stand everywhere on the streets, rattling off current offers in record time.
People buy what they can, the more new clothes, but also furniture or cooking utensils you have in the house, the better the new year will start
On New Year's Day, all stores in Sri Lanka are closed and the employees go to their families. The Sinhalese New Year is celebrated in the circle of the extended family and is a symbol of cohesion. The government also prohibits selling and serving alcohol.
The new year is rung in
According to an astrological calculation, in each year at different times, the work is now shut down. Between the years it is important to be with your family and keep up the traditions.
To ring in Avurudu, fireworks and firecrackers are set off to make the evil spirits go away. This year this was at 18:00. Everywhere it bangs and the phase between the years (Nonagathaya) is rung in.
An important tradition is making rice pudding (kiribath). For this, a fire is made in an earthen clay pot at 19:49. Coconut milk is poured at exactly 20:06 and brought to a boil. If the milk boils within 6 minutes, it will be a good new year. Traditionally, the man in the house does this. After the milk is boiling, rice pudding is prepared and eaten together.
This ceremony is an important moment in the whole country and is even televised from the president's house. Now officially begins the new year.
The new year customs to Avurudu
For children, New Year is a very special time. Many relatives and friends visit the families. The children receive gifts and new clothes. If one is invited, one traditionally brings a gift in the form of sweets or also coins with one.
On New Year it is quite normal to give away money. But beware: only new bills or coins! The money is wrapped in a betel leaf, because betel leaves mean good luck and blessings. It's not about the amount of money, it's the gesture that counts. We also gave away a betel leaf and made our friend Damith very happy with it.
On New Year many games are played in the circle of families and friends. These include traditional dice games, clay pot banging, or even a kind of pinata filled with colored water.
However, the focus is always on meeting and celebrating with family and friends. They eat and talk loudly. The family does not get together often in Sri Lanka, so moments like this are celebrated. Traditionally, people also visit the temple in each case and pray for blessings and good fortune for the coming year.
This article is part of a series. Here you can find the other articles about Sri Lanka.