This app includes the rituals of Sinhala and Tamil new year 2021 (2021 අවුරුදු නැකත්).
Brief Introduction about Sinhala and Hindu new year
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year or as we all call it Avurudu in Sinhala, has become an important national holiday for both Sinhala Buddhists and the Tamil Hindus of Sri Lanka. It is unique because it is not celebrated in any other country as a national festival.
Rituals associated with the Aluth Avurudda begin with bathing on the last day of the old year and viewing the moon on the same night. The pealing of the bell accompanied with the beating of drums (hewisi) in the village temple announces the times to perform the different rituals.
Something unique about Avurudu is the celebration of the beginning of the new year as well as the conclusion of the old year as specified by astrologers. And unlike in the customary ending and beginning of new year, when it comes to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, there is a period of time in between, which is called the nonagathe (neutral period). During this time, people keep off from all types of work and engage in religious activities. It is for this reason that it is also called the "Punya Kalaya".
Before Avurudu it is customary for every housewife to give a new look to her old house. In villages, the floor, if not cemented, is given a fresh application of cow dung mixed with earth. Preparation of sweetmeats, such as kevum, kokis, atirasa, aggala, aluva and asmi takes place at least three days before the new year.
The customary bathing for the passing year is equally important. A herbal bath gives physical purification. When one takes a herbal bath , anointed with gingelly oil or mustard oil, it provides a soothing effect for the body. Traditionally, the anointing is done by an old person who is healthy.
In most villages, the temple is the venue for applying the 'nanu' before bathing and is usually done by an elderly priest, with blessings for health and longevity. Anointing is considered an exclusive right of the male.
A certain mysterious force is attributed to the leaves used for anointing the head. They are selected in relation to the day of the week on which the rituals have to be performed, e.g. 'Imbul' on Sundays, 'Divul' on Mondays, 'Kolong' on Tuesdays, 'Kohomba' on Wednesdays, 'Bo' on Thursdays, 'Karanda' on Fridays and 'Nuga' on Saturdays.
Another prominent feature of the Avurudu is the respect paid to elders and the strengthening of relationships with neighbours. Usually, visiting relations and friends, exchanging presents and greeting them with a sheaf of betel is the order of the day.
There is also an auspicious time for the women folk to commence work at their respective homes. Facing the specified direction, they light the hearth to prepare the traditional kiribath. Prior to this, milk is boiled in a new earthen pot and allowed to boil over, symbolising prosperity.The hath maluwa with seven different flavours which is considered a delicacy, is a speciality dish prepared during Avurdu. Other festive sweetmeats are generally made in advance to serve visitors and send to neighbours as a sign of goodwill.
Meals too are taken at an auspicious time. Did you know that taking meals at an auspicious time with all family members sitting together is a noble, and healthy custom.
Avurudu, which is rich in culture and tradition could be celebrated by all as a national festival and its unique features made use of to promote friendship among people.
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