Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a New Year for not only Sinhalese and Tamils but it is also celebrated by all the citizens. It is known as Aluth Awurudhu in Sinhala and Chithirai Puththaandu in Tamil. The New Year generally falls on 14th of April. The date varies depending on Panchangam, Holy Hindu Saivite Calendar according to Tamils and astrological belief that the sun moves from house of Pisces to house of Aries according to Sinhalese.
Unlike New Year celebrated in January, commencement of Sinhala and Tamil New Year depends on time, which is usually predicted by the astrologers. The New Year is also celebrated as a tribute to farmer, the food producer for the entire nation as it marks the end of harvesting period. Cuckoo bird also has a strong relationship with this New Year, its coo-coo sound marks the birth time of the New Year on that day. Rituals, games and leisure are the factors that play a significant role in Sinhala & Tamil New Year.
When considering culture, this festival begins with a lot of rituals. People start shopping at least a week before for the New Year, even this done during the auspicious time of the day. Moreover, particular color or colors are specified every year by astrologers and the clothes of these colors should be purchased. Sinhalese males wear Sarong and Batik/silk shirt whereas females wear Osari (type of saree) or batik blouse and skirt. Tamil males wear shirt/Gurutha and Vesti and females wear saree.
As the New Year commences, milk is boiled first on the stove and the oil lamp in the house is lit during the auspicious time and later, milk rice is made. During this period of auspicious time, people pray that rest of the year should bring them joy and prosperity and believe there won’t be lacking of food as the year continues. They also do their first bank transaction and at least an hour of their occupation consider it brings luck. These are some common events done by Sinhalese and Tamils.
Sinhalese throw away the clay pots on the last day of the old year that has been used to cook throughout the year. Old ladies and Game Alangaarayan (Village beauties) play raban (a large drum that is played by using hands) in front of the house singing folk songs. They also prepare sweets such as Kokis, Konda Kevum, Athirasa and Pol Toffee.
On the other hand, Tamils take a bath applying Marathu Neer (Water with fragrance of specific flowers and leaves) as it is believed to be good for health. The housewife of the house design Kolam (drawing with rice flour) in front of the house early in the morning.
Then they boil the milk during the auspicious time and do offerings to God on a plate/banana leaf with a silver container above a spreading of rice alongside with betel leaves, bananas, date fruit and molded turmeric and then go to Kovil (Hindu Temple). They also prepare sweets few days before the New Year such as Murukku, Laddu, Jilebi and Urundai.
Sinhala and Tamil New Year is especially famous for games. There are several games played which includes climbing grease pole, bun eating, pillow fighting, breaking clay pot, yogurt feeding and tug of war. Climbing grease pole is a very interesting game that is played during the New Year, during which people try their best to climb to the top of the pole where a prize money is fixed and the person to claim the prize money is the winner.
Bun eating is a game in which buns are hung on a line and the competitor has to eat the bun without using their hands and the first to eat a bun is the winner. Pillow fighting is an another game which gives a good entertainment to the audience in which two participants sit in a narrow column of a wood and hit each other until one loses the balance and falls off. In breaking clay pot, the contestant is blindfolded and he or she has to break the clay pot which swings back and forth, with a bamboo stick. Yoghurt eating is a game of two people in which a person is blindfolded and should feed the partner. Tug…