Here are just some Images of my Awrudu (Sinhala and Tamil New Year this year), and the Awrudu Uthseveya which I took part in this year at Habarana – along with the surrounding nature.
The “Uthseveya” is a traditional festival that occurs during the New Year period. Usually this is a fun festival that takes place in villages in Sri Lanka around the Awrudu time where all the children (and perhaps some adults also) play games out in the open. Unfortunately i’ve only just learned the names for some of these interesting games so I can’t remember them to write. However three particularly interesting ones (shown in these pics) are the pillow flight whilst balancing on a log, the “hitting the clay pot” game, and the throwing the and catching the raw egg. The first and last games are self explanatory and certainly I’ve played the egg game before in the west. However the claypot game was interesting- here participant is blindfolded and then is spun around once so that they are disorientated, and then are given the task of walking up to the row of clay pots and having to hit the pot with a long solid stick so that it cracks.
Also the pictures show some ladies playing the “Raban” – the traditional sheep or cowskin drum large enough for 3-5 people to hit at once. This particular group of women werereally good at playing -not only did they know many rhythms but they seemed to want to sing and dance at the same time which was quite something to watch! The head drummer was an Achchi (grandmother), 83 years of age, and still goingstrong, and she was in full flight, beating the drum, singing and dancing. Her own daughter and granddaughterwere 2 of the co-drummers in the photo.
This event was was well done and felt to me authentic as to what perhaps happens in the village communities, even though this particular Uthseveya was organised for guests of a hotel.
Today i’ve been pondering over the significance of the Sinhala and Tamil new year (or “Awrudu” as it is called in Sinhala)- as I have been for the last few weeks leading up to Awrudu. It is such big deal form most people here as many follow the traditional practices within the home such as lighting the heart and eating “Kiribath” (or Milk rice) at a particular hospicious time (as we did today – 5:10 am and 5:50 am respectively). I was very impressed at peoples commitment for a tradition that dates back over 2000 years, still practiced the same way it was back then.For someone like me who is studying “changing behaviour” it is also interesting to reflect upon behaviour that doesn’t change and what factors support this?
The other thing that is really nice is the exchange of gifts – unfortunately I was caught empty handed today when I got some gifts from my family (as situation that i’m not usually in when it comes to the gift giving department – but not to worry I already had a master plan for this). This is just like Christmas for practicing Christians (or non Christians even in other countries where Christmas is widely celebrated) – and the same sort of atmosphere prevails.
In the the case of Awrudu – firecrackers were lit, new years resolutions were made, and a barage of text messages and phone calls exchanged persons just as is the case for many on thel 1st of January!
All in all it was a great day.
Some captions for the photos
The Journey from Kandy to Habarana
A view from outside Bentota Bake house in Dambulla and a passing by Monk catching a bus
Ladies Playing Raban
Hitting the Clay pot game
Back home with the “Pahana” (Lamp) ready to eat Kiribath, and Cavaly (sweets)