April is a festive month in Sri Lanka as we celebrate New Year in April. Usually the date falls on 13thor 14th April and both Sinhalese Buddhists and Hindus celebrate this New Year.I just thought of sharing some photos from last year New Year as I spent the New Year in Sri Lanka.Although there are lot of things to share,here is a brief of April New Year & Sri Lankan Food Culture.
Usually before the New Year, people stop all the work and prepare for the New Year. They try to make everything new for the next year like cleaning homes, buying new clothes, repairing things etc. Auspicious time and Astrology play a big role for the celebrations and the New Year starts for a given auspicious time by the Astrologers. The exciting part is that all the people who celebrate this New Year stop their work by a given time. As majority of people celebrate New Year, you’ll find suddenly the country is silent. Usually shops are closed and even no much vehicles in the roads.
Even there is no cooking during this period of Old year and New Year. Then, when the auspicious time comes for the New Year, we start work by lighting the hearth and boiling milk. If you visit Sri Lanka during this New Year period, you’ll hear sounds of lot of fire crackers which indicates that people started the celebrations.
Usually we prepare a fireplace in mid of the living room and boil milk. If not, we even use the existing fireplace in the kitchen. Nowadays most of the homes use gas cookers for cooking purpose. But still most Sri Lankans prepare a traditional fireplace(hearth) for the purpose of boiling milk.
If the milk is boiled and overflows, it is a symbol of prosperity and all are happy. We all stay around the hearth adding dry sticks to continue the fire and wait for the time of overflowing milk.
|Finally milk is overflowing|
After boiling milk, (either coconut milk or fresh milk of cow) then it is time to cook Milk Rice. Milk rice is a ceremonial dish in Sri Lanka which rice is cooked with coconut milk. Even the New Year starts with cooking Kiri bath and eating together the whole family.
Basically this celebration is related with new harvest and idea is family reunion. After celebrations at home, we usually visit our parents, grandparents or other relatives. Traditional food plays a big role during this period and we eat different sweets from different places including relatives until we fed up.
Some of the most popular sweets during this period are Konda Kavum,Kokis,Aluwa and Dodol.
Other than these sweets, we also prepare a pickle with onion and green chili.
In this year we celebrate the New Year on next week and thought of sharing the basic idea with you all.
Do you have such type of traditional celebrations in your culture? Please share your thoughts as a comment.