SINHALA AHD HINDU NEW YEAR
The hole island takes on an air of festivity not only the people but also the mother nature. The
forerunners being the Erabadu tree with its brilliant red flowers and the cuckoos giving their distinctive
mating call heralding the New Year. Another notice feature is the hurried footsteps of people, doing
their New Year shopping. Parents looking quite harassed with children tagging alone. All this and more
because this is the time of the New Year festival. This is also known as the festival of the sun. This
festival is celebrated mostly by the Buddhist Sinhalese and the Hindu Tamils. When earth orbits the sun
it passes the 12 constellation mainly Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces. The last of the
constellation Pisses completes the whole cycle. The New Year begins when the sun passes from Pisces
Being Agriculture people the sinhalese and Tamils depend on the vagaries of climate where the sun is
the most stabilizing source of energy.
Sri Lanka many have begun the Festival of the sun and the New Year Festival with the coming of the
Aryans, however this is the most popular Cultural Festival of the Island. This Festival falls on the 13th
and 14th of April in our calendar this is the 4th month but it known as Bak the first month of the
The day before the New Year is known as the Old year. The special feature of the New Year is that
each important job begins at an auspicious time usually when the harvest is gathered and divided, the
first share is measured for the gods known as Akyala, which is thanksgiving for the gods then and then
only it is customary for people to cook milk rice in their homes.
People start cleaning up their homes, new roof are thatched, cobwebs swept, walls whitewashed, floor
redone or towns are shining clean. Curtains are washed and hung. The hearth of the house gets special
attention. The first thing to be done is to make sweetmeats such as Konda Kawum, Athiraha, Aluwa,
Munkawum, Kokis, Milk Rice etc etc. depending on the region.
Before the New Year a lamp is lit out side the house to the East. New moon is looked at on the correct
day. People have their old New Year bath.
There is a gap in time from the Old year to the new which is the time with no auspicious time called
nonagathe. This time is spent by the people as punya kalaya that is going to the temple. Once they
come back the play begins as no work is done, during this period.
The most important is the lighting of the hearth. Mother the most important figure dressed in given
colours light the hearth, she makes the milk rice. The whole family gets round the loaded tables as the
father feeds everybody a mouthful. After eating everybody starts work. Then they gather round for
ganu denu. The elders are giving a sheaf of beetle and they return it with some money. This is one of
our most important national and cultural festivals of Sri Lanka.