Sinhala and Tamil New Year generally know as “Aluth Avurudda or Puthandu,” a much-anticipated time of year in Sri Lanka, is celebrated in many Buddhist and Hindu households as the sun moves from Pisces to Aries, marking the end of the harvest season. It is a public holiday in Sri Lanka. The Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a well-known cultural festival that brings all Lankans together in many parts of the world, from the friendly birdcall of the Koha (Asian Koel) heard throughout the month of April to the various observances and traditions.
This time of year gives all Sri Lankans a chance to express gratitude and celebrate as one family, from a list of customs to deliciously mouthwatering sweetmeats and fun activities.
The beginning of the Sinhala and Tamil New Years is unusual in that it does not occur at the same time every year, but rather at a time determined by astrological calculations. In addition, the time between the end of the previous year and the start of the new one can be as long as 12 hours and 48 minutes. When the sun starts to cross the astrological border of Meena Rashiya and Mesha Rashiya, the crossing is complete.
The dawn of the New Year is marked by the sun crossing the point halfway between these two. Material pursuits are avoided as tradition dictates, and emphasis is placed on religious activities or traditional games during this time of transition (Nonagathe).
Every aspect of this festival is organized around astrologically determined "auspicious times," or Nakath.
To prepare for the celebrations, Families begin cleaning and painting their homes, as well as purchasing new clothing and gifts for family members, weeks in advance of the festival. The new clay pot in which the milk will be boiled on New Year's Day is an extremely valuable purchase. Traditional sweetmeats such as Kavum (small oil cakes), Kokis (a crisp, crunchy sweetmeat), Aluwa (diamond-shaped rice flour sweets), mung kavum, and others are prepared ahead of time and stored for the big day. Around this time, a Cuckoo bird known as Koha is in the midst of its mating season, and the male's distinct mating call is considered as the festival's harbinger.
The auspicious times for lighting the hearth and boiling a pot of milk are announced by thousands of firecrackers. Families gather around the fire to watch the milk boil over, which is thought to be a sign of good fortune. The family eats a meal that contains the previously prepared sweetmeats and fruits, as well as kiribath (milk-rice) (bananas). The first business transaction of the New Year is also completed at a predetermined time.
Paying tribute to elders is another tradition that has been passed down through the generations in Sri Lanka. While the young ones seek their blessings for the future, a sheaf of betel leaves is offered to all of the family's elders.
A special ceremony to anoint oil is held in between all of these ceremonies, and it is normally performed by the oldest family member. This is also done in their respective temples, where the prelate is seen performing the tradition, which represents good health. In the "Palapala Litha," there are auspicious times as well as a time to leave for work.
During the New Year's Holidays, many people return to their hometowns and return to work with the hope of doing better in the coming year. Gifts are exchanged, and the remainder of the day is spent visiting relatives and playing New Year's games with community members. The Rabana, a broad, flat drum played by groups of villagers, mostly females, accompanied by lyrical verses called Raban pada, is an important feature of the Avurudu festivities.
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