Sri Lanka, a tropical island in South Asia, celebrates its New Year in April, marking the beginning of the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year, known as Avurudu. The festival is celebrated by both Sinhalese and Tamil communities in the country and around the world.

Avurudu is a time when families and communities come together to celebrate the changing of the seasons, the harvest, and new beginnings. The celebration is based on the traditional calendar system that has been used for thousands of years in Sri Lanka. The exact date and time of the celebration are determined by astrologers who follow the movements of the sun.

The preparations for Avurudu start several weeks in advance. The houses are cleaned, painted, and decorated, and the traditional oil lamp is lit. New clothes are bought, and traditional sweets and delicacies are prepared. The most popular dish is the Kiribath, a special rice pudding made with coconut milk, which is consumed for breakfast on the first day of Avurudu.

The first day of Avurudu is marked by the awakening of the household members before dawn. This is called the ‘ganu-denu’, where families take part in religious rituals and offerings, followed by the lighting of the hearth to boil milk, which symbolizes prosperity for the year ahead.

The second day of Avurudu is called the ‘avurudu kumari’, where young girls and boys dress up in traditional costumes and perform cultural dances and songs in their communities. This is a time when families exchange gifts, including money and sweets, with their loved ones and neighbors.

The third day of Avurudu is known as the ‘nakath litha’, where people consult astrologers to determine the best time to start new ventures or make important decisions. This is also a time for outdoor activities and games, such as ‘kanamutti’, a game where a clay pot filled with water is hung from a tree and participants try to break it blindfolded.

The Avurudu celebration brings together people from all walks of life, creating a sense of unity and harmony within the communities. It is a time when families and friends forgive each other and start anew. It is a time of renewal and rebirth, where the past is left behind, and a new beginning is embraced.

Even Sri Lankan expatriates living abroad celebrate Avurudu with great enthusiasm. They gather with their community members and organize traditional games and events to maintain their cultural identity and share the festivities with the people of their host countries.

Are you planning a trip to Sri Lanka? Don’t miss the chance to experience the vibrant celebration of Avurudu, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year! This cultural festival, held in mid-April, is a time of joy and festivities, with colorful decorations, traditional foods, and fun games and activities.