Sinhala Avurudu

Sinhala Avurudu

April 13 or 14
Sinhala Avurudu, or New Year, is celebrated in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) as a non-religious festival by both Sinhalese and Tamils. The exact hour of the new year is determined by astrologers, and often the new year does not begin when the old year ends. The few hours between the new and old year are known as the nona gathe ("neutral period"), and all activities, including eating and drinking, must stop for that time.
In the villages the new year traditionally begins with lighting a fire in the kitchen and wearing new clothes. The color of these clothes is determined by an almanac. The ceremonies reach a climax with an anointing ceremony. Oil is mixed with an herbal paste and a family elder rubs this oil on the heads of all the family members as they sit with a white cloth under their feet. The holiday is also a day of public festivities, including sports, games, dancing, and special dinners.
CONTACTS:
Sri Lanka Tourist Board
111 Wood Ave. S, Ste. 323
Edison, NJ 08820
732-516-9800; fax: 732-452-0087
www.srilankatourism.org
SOURCES:
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 165
IntlThFolk-1979, p. 345