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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2018
Headline for Sinhala and Tamil new year checklist - The Aluth Avurudu checklist – Celebrating the New Year in a Traditional style.
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Sinhala and Tamil new year checklist - The Aluth Avurudu checklist – Celebrating the New Year in a Traditional style.

The Aluth Avurudu is hands down the biggest festival in Sri Lanka. A day filled with tradition, sweets and new clothes, this is a fun festival for all. Below is a useful checklist for the day

1

The sacred time

It is a literal new year this Aluth Avurudu and both the Sinhalese and the Tamils celebrate the dawn of a new year in their calendar. The first day of the year commences on the month of Bak when the sun makes its way from the Meena Rashiya to the Mesha Rashiya. In the Gregorean calendar, the month of Bak corresponds to April; hence the Aluth Avurudu is celebrated during this month. There is something unique about the Sinhala Tamil New Year for unlike any other new year which commences at the end of the old year, in the Sinhalese calendar there is a period in between both the old and the new year known as the nonagathe (neutral period). At this time people refrain from all types of worldly affairs and confine themselves to the observance of religious activities. For this reason, this period is also termed as the "Punya Kalaya".

2

Paying respect to elders

The Aluth Avurudu is also a great time to rekindle relationships -be it with family or friends. Paying respect to elders, in particular, is a huge part of the Aluth Avurudu traditions. In fact, the day commences with greeting parents and grandparents by prostrating before them with a sheaf of beetle. As the day goes on elders, in general, continue to be greeted in this manner. The Sinhalese are very particular about strengthening ties with their neighbours and visiting and exchanging sweets are all part of the Avurudu celebrations.

3

Meals and The sweet meats

To start the New Year milk is boiled in a new clay pot and caused to overflow. This act symbolizes prosperity. The day commences with the traditional milk rice meal (Kiribath) and throughout the Aluth Avurudu and the proceeding days, there are lots of Avurudu sweet meats that go around. This includes Kavum, Kokis, Mung Kavum and several more. Sweet meats make an important part of the Avurudu traditions and these sweets are distributed among neighbors and colleagues at work.

4

Traditional Games

The Avurudu games are lots of fun and for the younger generation, this is the most exciting part of the festival. Both indoor and outdoor games are conducted on this day and this includes all-time favourites such as olinda keliya, buhu keliya, muthi gesilla, eluvan keliya, muthu keliya, mevara sellama, raban upatha, onchili varam and mee sellama.

5

New clothes

Each year there is a specific colour of clothes that should be worn for the festival and the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka purchase new clothes from that specific colour. Babies are also dressed according to tradition and showered with powder and fragrant smells. Many supermarkets like Keells Super have all the required baby items in Sri Lanka to make babies feel and smell special on this day.