Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Expanding the Sinhala and Tamil New Year even further !!


What a great event the New Year Festival is......

Among all the other obvious, great, cultural and traditional reasons as to why New Year is such a special event like it is, there is yet another one reason we tend to overlook! 

This is the only special event in Sri Lanka where more than one ethnic groups join and celebrate together! Let's just think about it a little ......

In a nation battered by 3 decades of terrorism and even longer period of mistrust among ethnic groups, this one event where Sinhala and Tamil people can get together and celebrate as one group is a blessing indeed! Avrudu is a proud , identity defining occasion for Sinhala and Tamil nations.

And that's not all.. the potential of New Year celebrations to really unite this nation and bring together all it's ethnic groups together is far greater than we realise at present!

We call this Sinhala and Tamil new year. Saying Sinahala and Hindu would be the wrong way.. Can you say why ? yes, New year celebrations in April has very little to do with Hinduism as it does with Tamil nationality. That's why we don't see an equally enthusiastic celebration in Hindu Northern India. Similarly New year has very little to do with Buddhism as it has to do with Sinhalese. Come to think about it, Aluth Avrudu has very little or nothing at all to do with religions. 

Roots of the festival would link to the fact that agricultural communities in this region will be bringing home their harvest at this time of the year. Hence it is also a proud occasion of celebrating the labour, honest sweet work!

That brings us an interesting possibility. Sinhala Cristtians and Tamil Christians also can celebrate the New Year festival as enthusiastically as Sinhala Buddists and Tamil Hindus!! There is absolitely no reason not to! It is a very inclusive festival which has a meaning to all Sinhala and Tamil people, regardless of their religions. Since more than 99% of Christians in this country are either Sinhala or Tamil this would mean all our christian freinds can (if they so wishe) get involve in the festivities!

True, buddist will celebrate Vesak, Christians will still celebrating Christmas as their main event in the year and tamils will do so with theirs. Yet, in April we all can join together and have a great united festival.  For instance, our Christian neighbours got heavily involved (and still doing so as I'm writing this post) with Kawum  and Kokis making activities with us today. Alas, they seem more adapt than us on this!

If you have Christian friends neighbours, who wouldn't mind, extend them a hand to celebrate the event with you! I think this is one initiative we should promote! Somewhere in the past, some mistake has been done and Christian community was not celebrating New Year as other Tamils and Sinhalese in the country. I think this was some colonial divide and conquer tactic played on us rather than anything else. At least I haven't heard any theory yet from anyone on why Christians can not celebrate New Year festivals, in fact, looks like they (at least the ones in my neighbourhood!) are loving it!

If I'm ignorant on this and there is some deep Christian religious issue why it was happening all these years like the way it is at present, then some one please educate us on that via comments. Meanwhile.... Let's celebrate the greatest, common, most inclusive, grand cultural event in this country!

Now, this is why the Aluth Avrudu is a real blessing to this country! It can made to be even more inclusive than it is right now!!

Few more hours left.....  so brothers and sisters, let's join in the celebrations!!

PS : Few updates and more thoughts after the initial post have forced me to make a part2 for this post.