The Sinhala Tamil New Year is one of Sri Lanka’s major national holidays, which brings together the Sinhalese and Tamil populations of the island. This celebration marks the end of the rice harvest season.
In fact, the date is set annually by adherents of Indian astrology, Jyotish; and it depends on the movement of the sun. As a rule, it falls on April 13 or 14. That is the time when the sun changes from Pisces to Aries, what takes about 12 hours and known on the island as the “period of no-time”. Traditionally, locals are bound to take time out from their everyday lives to devote themselves to religion or festive games.
New Year is a family holiday which the locals prefer to celebrate at home. They decorate their houses beforehand, and then light an oil lamp as a symbol of house sanctification before the celebrations begin. New Year dishes include kawum (deep-fried cakes), white rice cooked with coconut milk, sweets, and fruits. The dishes should be cooked in a new clay pot.
...This week foreign students of Belarusian State Medical University, who have arrived to Minsk from Sri Lanka, celebrated New Year. They invited Vice-Rector for International Relations, Professor Vasili V. Roudenok, Doctor of Medical Sciences, and Vice-Rector for Educational Work, Associate Professor Pavel V. Markautsan, Candidate of Medical Sciences, Alexey Y. Katichev, Head of BSMU Campus, Sah Rama Shankar, Head of “MILEMIR” Ltd., and a 2005 alumnus of our University from Sri-Lanka – Josef Antonis.
“Tonight is a nice evening despite the rain, which according to superstitions bodes well for wealth and a good harvest,” said Vasili Roudenok, congratulating the audience. “I wish you and your parents health, success in your studies, and to become good specialists. Moreover, you have a number of role-models who graduated from our university and succeeded in their careers.”
“New Year is the time when one can start life with a clean slate. May the happiness, luck and high spirits come with you,” Pavel Markautsan said.
Other guests, including Alexey Katichev and Sakha Rama Shankar, said many kind words and wishes.
...The official part of the celebration flowed smoothly into the informal part of the event, which included honouring the best students from Sri Lanka as well as musical performances, tea drinking and many other New Year celebrations.
Author: Oksana Kurbeko, Spokesperson, photos by Dmitry Zelenkovsky
Translation: Tatiana Malkovich