The New Year festival is an enjoyable important national festival in Sri Lanka. All the Sinhala and Tamil people celebrated this festival in a big way this year – as they did in other years. This year the festival was held on the 13th of April. We got ready to greet our new year by cleaning our houses, buying new dresses and preparing sweet meats. All Sri Lankans carried out their traditional activities at the auspicious time. This is the special thing in the New Year festival.
This time the old year ended on the 12th of April. On that day we bathed for the last time in the old year and anointed our heads with oil. We could hear the sound of crackers and the sweet song of the Koka bird all around us.
The Sinhala New Year dawned at 6.29 p.m. Sri Lankan time. The time between 12.05 p.m. to 12.53 p.m. is not an auspicious time. We called this time “Punna time” and this time is for religion activities. So I went to temple with my family and offered flowers to Lord Buddha.
At 6.54 p.m. was the time put aside to preparing the meal. My mother kindled the hearth on time and prepared milk rice. I also helped my mother prepare milk rice and we prepared our New Year table by using sweet meats like milk rice, Kawum, Kokis, Dodol, and Plantains.
8.10 p.m. was the time for eating the New Year meal, carry out financial transactions and commence work for the first time in the New Year. This year our lucky color was red and yellow. All the members wore the new clothes. My father lit the New Year oil lamp at the auspicious time and fed us the first serving of food.
After taking our meal we worshiped our parents and elders by giving beetle to their hands. Afterwards we exchanged money between each other. My mother and father gave money to me.
7.42 am on the 16th of April was the time for anointing our heads with oil. This day we went to our temple and we celebrated this special occasion in a big way. Every year this event is organized by the students of the Dhamma School. For this event we prepared a special New Year table with refreshments for the participants. Afterwards we came home and bathed.
6.19 am on the 17th of April was the time for setting out for employment wearing the lucky color. This year it was gold.
These are the traditional customs that are observed during the Sinhala new year.