Sinhala and Tamil New Year

An exciting festival anticipated by many, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year known as Aluth Avurudu is the largest cultural festival celebrated in Sri Lanka. Held in esteem by both Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year is said to be one of the longest holidays celebrated in Sri Lanka.

While the Sri Lankan calendar allocates two days for the celebration, the practices and rituals of the Aluth Avurudu span for five days the least. An occasion that brings family and loved ones together, during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year it is a general practice of many to go to their hometown to celebrate this momentous occasion with the household.

A vibrant celebration that reflects on the cultural affluence, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year is celebrated in the month of April. This, in the Sinhala calendar, marked as the month ‘Bak’ is known to be the month of resplendent prosperity. The Aluth Avurudu dates picked according to planetary movements of the celestial sphere that mark the end of the harvest season coincides with one of the two instances when the sun is directly above Sri Lanka.

For the Aluth Avurudu festival celebrations, a colour and time is selected based on astrological calculation. This is based on the belief that the New Year must begin through the observance of all the formalities in order to enter into a year of prosperity and luck.

There are many cultural activities and customs associated with the celebration of this festival from lighting the oil lamp, preparing a traditional meal replete with ‘kiribath', 'lunumiris’ and other traditional Avurudu sweetmeats, having the first meal of the New Year together, sharing the Avurudu confectionary with the neighbourhood, oiling the hair with oil prepared from traditional herbs, engaging in the first transaction of the New Year, worshipping the parents and elders at home and visiting the temple are only but a few among them.

The Aluth Avurudu games are also a popular feature of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Fun filled games such as ‘pancha keliya’; a game played with five small seashells, a coconut shell and a chart, ‘onchili pedeema’; playing on swings as a group while singing age-old Avurudu ballads known as ‘onchili waram’, ‘kanamutti bideema’; attempting to break a pot that is hung on a rope with a pole while being blindfolded and ‘kotta pora’; pillow fighting while balancing on a log that is elevated several feet.

The Sinhala and Tamil New Year promises a time of excitement, entertainment and festivity throughout the country. Being a part of this celebration is an enlightening experience where one can learn of the historic tradition and the insightful tales behind traditions. A festival that brings a sense of unity amongst communities the Aluth Avurudu carries much significance and value for Sri Lankans.

Title image by: Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau

Date and Time

Apr 13, 2018
Apr 14, 2018




Cultural and Religious

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