Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Year La Vida Lanka!

For most of the world, January 1 marks the start of the new year so it is quite strange to wish someone a Happy New Year in the midst of April.  Yet, it is the new year for Sinhalas and Tamils (or what is colloquially referred to as Auvurudu, pronounced as aw-roo-doo).

Wishing you peace, happiness
and good health for the
New Year! (Kavinda.net)

A lot of Sri Lankans connect Auvurudu with Buddhism however I am told that it is not strictly a religious tradition.  For one, astrology is the main foundation for the event.

Determining the date when the year ends and the new year begins is written in the stars.  When the sun has moved from the Zodiac Pisces to Aries, a new year has dawned.     

Astrologers also mark not only the date but the exact time as well when the new year breaks.  And it is not necessarily adjacent to when it ended.  An “auspicious time” is determined for when the year ends.  Once that has passed, all activity is usually stopped, work is halted and no cooking must be done as it is believed that work is fruitless during the time that the sun moves towards its new position.  This lasts for around 8 hours.  During this mysterious time, Sinhalas and Tamils also wish to fortify themselves by praying, doing religious activities and visiting temples. 

Another “auspicious time” is written in the stars and that is the one that marks the new year.  To usher in the new year, instead of lighting firecrackers, they light their fire to cook kiribat (milk rice) from a brand new claypot.  The milk is then allowed to overflow symbolizing a prosperous new year.

Of course the new year is a time to celebrate with family and friends.  Just like how we Catholics celebrate Christmas and most of the world, the Gregorian New Year.  It is a time to make amends in the symbol of offering betel leaves.  Gifts are also exchanged. 
Photo from dailynews.lk

So where will Mr. and Mrs. O be during the “most auspicious time of the year?”  I guess we will also be celebrating a beginning of our own.  While most newly married couples have the luxury of taking their honeymoon trip right after the wedding, our “official” honeymoon trip will only take place during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.  Official because, as hubby says, everyday is our honeymoon.  Okay, okay but you know what I mean?  Official honeymoon is when we’re actually on vacation!  But I digress.

And I guess our trip also came at an awesome time in the place we now call home.  It is a time of reflection, prayer, togetherness, forgiveness, love, family, happiness and prosperity.  And that’s how you really want to usher in the start of wedded bliss.

So, even if we're in the midst of April, I wish you all a Happy New Year (Suba Aluth Avruddak Vewa)!       

Thank you S for the wonderful resource: 
Festival of New Beginnings: Sri Lankan New Year (2010)
Swarna Wickremeratne

1 comment:

  1. What an informative post sweety! Happy new year in Sri Lanka!


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