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“Aluth Avurudda” is a Sri Lankan holiday, it celebrates the traditional New Year of the Sinhalese people. Usually, in Sri Lanka, both Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s are celebrated together. The Sinhala new year usually symbolizes the end of the Harvest season and the start of spring.
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year falls during the month of April during the Bak full moon Poya Day. The time of which the New Year usually starts is depicted from lunar cycles and varies from year to year. Unlike the normal new year which ends on the December 31st, there is a time between the old year and the new year.This period is known as “nonagathe” or neutral period. During the time of “nonagathe” Buddhists usually, refrain from eating food and partake in religious activities.
Usually, after the beginning of the Sinhala New Year, tradition dictates that you should clean your house and light an oil lamp. There are various rituals which happen during this time period and usually, major rituals are broadcasted on the tv. Once the Auspicious time of the new year arrives you will hear thousands of fire cracks being lit. The Loud Firecrackers are an integral part of the Celebrations.
Once “nonagathe” ends families usually have there first meal of the new year together. This meal is part of ancient traditions and will feature many delicacies like Milk rice, “Kavum”, “Kokis” and “Aassmi”. After the first meal is concluded, the partying usually starts, Families visit their neighbors and offer gifts of food. The children are let out to play.
During these days “Avurudu Uthsawa” or New Year Games are usually held. They usually are divided into two types, Indoor and Outdoor. The outdoor games are “placing the eye on an elephant”, Bun eating competition and Tug of War. The Indoor games include “Olinda Keliya”, “Pancha Dameema” and “Cadju Dameema”.
You can most definitely take part in these celebrations, many hotels and guest houses take part in these ancient traditions and usually hold the New Year Games too. In 2018 the New Year falls on the 14th of April.