The shared holiday of “Singhalese – Tamil New Year” stretches over two days with April 13 marked as the new year’s day and April 12 as “the day before New Year”, or also know as new year’s eve. The origins of this Sri Lanka holiday are predominantly Buddhist – Hindu, but some Christians and Muslims, as well as the occasional foreigner, also take part in the traditions. The central customs comprise preparing for a fresh start of the new year. These preparations generally include cleaning the house, shopping for new cloths, and selecting a new earthenware pot in which to cook the first meal of the year. This year the lucky/beneficial colors to wear and to adorn the home are red and yellow. Auspicious timing also holds great importance for opening the new year, such as, final bathing for the old year should take place on Saturday; precisely 5:54 pm on Sunday marks the proper time for lighting the home’s hearth or stove; and the ideal first meal of the new year should be partaken at 8:10 pm.
The two days marking the new year commonly fall during the week and people, businesses, and government typically would take off the entire week in which it falls; so this year caused some holiday planning confusion because both days fell squarely on the weekend. As a result, some people have elected for an extra day off before the weekend, others an extra day off after, and a few are even determined to take both extra days or even more. Normally many people return to their hometowns and welcome in the new year with extended family, or the more economically well-off might take other family vacations with Nuwara Eliya as a favorite destination to enjoy the cooler Hill Country climate. However, this year people are noticeably curtailing both choices owning to only have an extended weekend rather then a whole week of new year’s holiday.
Posted By Adam Nord (Sri Lanka)
Posted Apr 13th, 2008