Sinhala Tamil New Year
The month of Bak (April) represents prosperity in the Sinhala calendar Unlike in the West, where New Year is ushered in as the clock strikes 12 midnight, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year begins several hours apart, this span of time is usually 12 hours and 48 minutes with the sun moving from the house of Pisces to Aries, according to Sinhala astrology. At the half way, point it's considered as the dawn of the new year.
Many homes are cleaned and white-washed to get them ready for the new year, with Sri Lankans making sweetmeats like Kavum, Kokis and Aggala well in advance. New clothes are purchased to be worn according to the auspicious colour for the new year.
The first meal cooked for the new year is generally Kiribath (Milk Rice) which will be cooked over a hearth at an auspicious time. The partaking of meals too takes place according to tradition and will be at an auspicious time set by astrologers.
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a time when many fun-filled games like Kotta Pora (Pillow Fight), climbing the grease pole, kannaa muttie (Breaking the clay pot), tug-of-war, road races, cycle races etc. take place with many foreign tourists joining in the celebrations, mainly in hotels dotted across the Island. Most celebrations usually end with the selection of the Avurudu Kumari and Kumaraya (princess and prince) being chosen (this is also a hot favourite among foreigners who are visiting the country at this time of the year as it brings out the romantic side of the celebrations for tourists.
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year is an event that has been celebrated not only by the Sinhalese and Tamils as the name suggests, it is one that features traditions that have been handed down by our earliest descendants and brings people of all nationalities together in good spirited camaraderie, it's a time when the people who come to the city in search of jobs and economic prosperity go back to the places of their birth (villages) to meet up with their friends and family, where the elders pass on the memories of New Year celebrations of years gone by, a time that is cherished by all, to wait for the time of the day when one wishes the other with hands brought together "Suba Aluth Avurudhak Wewa" or Happy New Year".