New year is celebrated all over the world on 1st of January. In Sri Lanka it is different. Sinhala and Tamil new year is celebrated on 13th or 14th of April every year and it is one of the main festivals in Sri Lanka. It is celebrated mainly by Sinhala and Tamil people. With new year, the movement of sun from Pisces to Aries is celebrated. This festival brings everyone together forgetting all the frets they had throughout the year. People welcome the new year with fire crackers.
People start getting ready for the new year from the beginning of April. They clean and renovate their houses, buy new clothes and make sweets. Sound of cuckoos and red colored flowers called Erabadu which we can see only during this season are the natures signs of new year.
Rituals and customs play a big role in this festival. The period of time before the arrival of the new year is called Nonagathaya (the neutral period). During this couple of hours people engage in religious activities like visiting temples and offering flowers to Buddha. After that people welcome the new year with firecrackers. Then comes the auspicious time to light the hearth. People cook milk rice which symbolizes prosperity. Then it is the time for the first meal in the new year. Tables are filled with milk rice and other sweets that are special for new year. It is amazing that everyone who celebrates the new year throughout the country do these tasks at the same auspicious times.
New year brings overflowing happiness to children because they get a vacation from the schools, get new clothes and get to enjoy through various games that are unique for this season. Some of them are, Kana Mutti Bindeema which is done by hanging a water filled pot in a rope and hitting it with a stick blind folded, Banis Kema which is done by hanging buns in a rope and eating them without using hands, Andhayata Kiri Keweema which is done by feeding curd to a person by another blind folded person.
If you are planning to travel to Sri Lanka during this season do not forget to participate in a new year party. It will obviously bring some memorable experiences to your lives.