In Sri Lanka, we celebrate Sinhala & Tamil New Year NOT Sinhala & Hindu New Year
Posted on April 16th, 2014

 Shenali D Waduge

Is the Christian dominated press, often accused of functioning as a 5th column, attempting to create new nomenclatures or simply upto usual mischief as directed by their sponsors in attempting to throw a new phrase to what has been traditionally used? There is no Sinhala-Hindu New Year, in Sri Lanka we celebrate the Sinhala-Tamil New Year.

Sinhalese and Tamil are 2 ethnic groups. The Sinhalese were all Buddhists and the Tamils where all Hindus. Sinhalese and Tamils were either Buddhists or Hindus. There was no requirement to call people Sinhalese Buddhists or Tamil Hindus. Every Sinhalese was a Buddhist and every Tamil was a Hindu.

All this changed with the arrival of the colonial invaders who forcibly converted the Sinhalese and Tamils into Christians or Catholics dividing the two ethnic groups along religious lines. The present day Christians and Catholics need to realize that their forefathers were all forcibly converted and explains why most people living along the coastal belt areas are all Christians/Catholics. Many Hindus forcibly converted as Catholics in the North returned to Hinduism when the Dutch arrived.

It must also be noted that while the Sinhalese and Tamils were living as Buddhists and Hindus not a single call was made for a separate state, no calls for a separate homeland and no record of discord between the two races or two religions. Apart from the politicians, both Buddhists and Hindus are beginning to realize the truth.

The invading colonial nations all followed the common objective of conquest, commerce and conversion. They had the gun in one hand and the Bible in the other. The gun helped conversions then but in todays context the gun has been replaced with numerous other subtle and manipulating methods.

That the invading nations were all steered in collusion with the Church is nothing that needs to be repeatedly told. Part of the divide and rule systems introduced to the nations that were invaded and occupied by colonial rulers worked with the Church to convert non-Christians to Christianity. In turn they introduced new values systems revolved around the Church and following Western thinking and behaviors all of which were directly opposite the aesthetic culture and value systems followed by both Buddhists and Hindus.

Even today the West continues the same objective via communication channels and various modes to advance that same objective and hold key stakes in media and charities that has as their mission to carry out this objective. The western media is very much in control of them clearly establishing the influence over how people think or are made to think. The success of this is clear where amongst the elite the Eastern value systems are fast departing or subject to ceremonial events. The dangers and repercussions of adopting cultures and value systems which are not really one’s own can be seen with time and statistics have shown how children and even adults of these families are experiencing numerous issues related to drug addiction, drinking, gambling, prostitution etc.

As for the present attempt to project a new twist to the national festival, media has been and continues to be part of the same lobby out to divide the Buddhist and Hindus given that the religious component to Sri Lanka’s current conflict is one that cannot be left out of the equation and can be seen in the manner the priests come forward to represent the Tamil ‘cause’ and become linked to the Christian Eelam lobby that India is now beginning to realize for itself.

Thus, even the traditional festival has been turned into an effort to further divide the people on a day where at one single time, every Buddhist and Hindu partake of the traditional sweetmeats and involve themselves in a spirit of giving and sharing. Sharing of sweetmeats may not happen in the areas of Colombians or the elite following western values and norms but Sinhalese and Tamils continue to share sweettrays and visit each other on this day as has been happening in the past.

The influence has been such that we wonder who are preparing the speeches or who are the journalist behind the mischief and why editors have allowed such a grave error to pass without correction.

The President’s message declares “We celebrate the dawn of this Sinhala and Tamil Aluth Avurudda with pride in our efforts towards building a nation self-sufficient in an abundant harvest of nature’s blessings” http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2014/04/13/new02.asp

The Media Minister, Keheliya Rambukwella in his message says “The dawn of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year heralds unity and equality among all people. It also provides an opportunity for Sri Lankans to work in unison to make their country prosperous and peaceful.” http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2014/04/13/new21.asp

Yet the Prime Minister the person who is the custodian of ensuring that Buddhism is given the foremost place in Sri Lanka, the coverage of his message declares ‘Sri Lankans have received the opportunity to revive fresh hopes during the New Year, while holding on to the age old customs and cultural values, Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne states in his Sinhala-Hindu New Year message. http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2014/04/13/new20.asp

The Prime Ministers office needs to demand a correction.

The leaders of Sri Lanka cannot afford to ignore the efforts taking place to divide people. Most often leaders themselves are prey to being influenced by members of their own cabinet who think that they have a carte blanche to do as they like in the electorates under them. Unless the leaders declare a clear policy Sri Lanka is likely to see more dissent and chaos than harmony. The very entities that are causing trouble are those that are recipients of direct foreign funds under religious themes and for religious incursions and this has directly affected both Buddhists and Hindus who have no such donors or even ruling politicians to advance their cause or protect their religions which is probably a key reason why people have taken matters into their own hands.

If a name change to a traditional national festival must take if at all it must be Buddhist-Hindu or remain Sinhala-Tamil. Nevertheless, with elements including the media upto mischief it behoves the Buddhist & Hindu organizations to not remain silent and take part in ceremonial rituals only but realize the eroding conditions associated around their respective religions. These indigenous organizations are not expected to issue Oxbridge statements but at least they must demand action by the leaders and take steps to project the incursions taking place. It is only then that the politicians wake up to reality for they have developed a habit of remembering the majority populace during election times only.

Shenali D Waduge

12 Responses to “In Sri Lanka, we celebrate Sinhala & Tamil New Year NOT Sinhala & Hindu New Year”

  1. Marco Says:

    Shenali
    Yet again you appear to get your “knickers in a twist” (sic) in the confusing pronouncements coming from ministers/members of the Govt. Seriously, do you honestly believe if the local populace take a blind bit of notice on such statements.
    I wonder if there was such a thing as a “wedgie” in journalistic parlance!

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Tamil new year is on January 14.

    Tamilian celebrations are DIVIDED between January 14 and April 14.

  3. Nanda Says:

    “The Sinhalese were all Buddhists and the Tamils where all Hindus. Sinhalese and Tamils were either Buddhists or Hindus.”

    This is an insult to Sinhala Christians.

  4. Nanda Says:

    Unfortunately Sinhala New Year has nothing to do with Buddhism or Sinhalaness or Tamilness but everything to do with Endianess.
    Nevertheless, it is a day of astronomical significance as Sun enters is point of Aries ( apparently). Then we practice some rituals Buddha asked us to give up ( with minor modifications to give respect to him).

    It is better call it “Hindoo New Year”.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Nanda,

    This is where you will STRONGLY DISAGREE with me.

    In SL

    Sinhala > Buddhism

    Sinhalese (and Tamils) were in SL BEFORE Buddhism. So IN MY VIEW the new year celebrations PRECEDE Buddhism. They are NOT about HINDUISM either.

    The BIGGEST celebrations in SL.

    1. January 1 new year – 100%
    2- April new year, easter and passover – 90%
    3. Wesak – 70%
    4. Thaipongal – 15%
    5. Ramadan – 10%
    6. X-mas ALONE (excluding new year) – more than 5%

    So I propose to rename April New Year SRI LANKAN NEW YEAR.

  6. Nanda Says:

    Lorenzo,
    No. I agree with you on all but the percentages which is not right whether the Tamils were their before Buddhism which is not important to me ( who cares who came here first or not do the right thing now).
    Racial or religious composition is not the way we celebrate.

    I think Christmas has not reached 60%
    Vesak 70% ( including poor)
    January, not 100% when we exclude poor
    the rest is Ok.

  7. Nanda Says:

    Sorry, not “not reached” but “now reached”.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    I agree the poverty issue is keeping people away from celebrations.

    Hope SL can reduce the percentage below poverty line to less than 500,000 soon. Then to near zero.

    Then only the true SL potential will come out.

  9. mario_perera Says:

    This happened on New Year day, the 14th April.

    It is a lesson to all who take MARY-S to Jesus-es. Joseph Goebbels, it will be remembered took the Mary of Madhu to his Jesus, to a Jesus who manhandled so many Marys before her.

    Now the Tamil Catholics and others too are asking Justice from the Tamil Bishops. That is like going to the thief’s mother for redress against the thief. In any case Joseph Goebbels and his ilk have their hands full at this moment. In conformity with their normal ‘modus operandi’ they should ask the UNHRC, and specifically Navy Pillai to constitute an investigatory panel. If she visits Jaffna at this moment she will be besieged by other weeping women.

    Here is the new report from Ceylon Today

    Protest in Jaffna over death of young woman

    April 17, 2014 6:09 am

    By Our Jaffna Correspondent

    A mass protest was held opposite Bishop’s House in Jaffna yesterday, by those mourning the death of a young woman, who committed suicide by jumping into a well at Gurunagar, Jaffna on Monday, 14 April. The crowd, mourning the death of 22-year-old, Jerome Consolita, shouted slogans seeking justice from the Catholic Bishop of Jaffna, Rt. Rev. Thomas Savuntharanayagam, claiming the girl had committed suicide due to depression after she had been sexually abused by a Catholic priest.

    Police intervened to calm the mourners who were furious over the death.
    According to the mourners, Consolita was a student at the Institute of Catholicism at Gurunagar and she had allegedly been sexually harassed constantly by a Catholic priest serving at the institute.

    According to a relative of the deceased, the Catholic priest had been passing remarks at the young woman all the time and had even insisted that she marry him. The relative also said that he had even sent her abusive short messages to her mobile phone.
    The relative added, the deceased was in a depressed state of mind for several days before she committed suicide.

    The autopsy on the deceased was carried out by Jaffna Judicial Medical Officer, Dr. S. Sivaruban, and his report had stated there were no signs of the deceased being sexually abused.
    The body of the woman was taken from the Jaffna Hospital to her native place Mandaitheevu for burial yesterday.

  10. mario_perera Says:

    “So I propose to rename April New Year SRI LANKAN NEW YEAR.” – Lorenzo

    A wonderful suggestion because that is what the April New Year is about. It is the National New Year, the Sri Lankan New Year par excellence.

    It is really time we cut the umbilical cord that binds us to the so called ‘International Community’ by taking over their nomenclature and adopting their feasts as ours. In doing so we undermine our so much vaunted 2600 year old civilization.

    We call ourselves sovereign, independent and similar. But until we assert our individuality we are neither sovereign nor independent.

    What this nation wants, specially at this moment, assailed as we are from foes within and without, is a sense of pride in our national identity. Naming the April New Year the Sri Lankan New year is also on all fours with the ‘demand’ for reconciliation leveled at us from all over. This is because it is a New Year that all people of this country have in common and cherish. What else is reconciliation but highlighting and enacting common traits by bringing them into the forefront and flaunting them internationally before the eyes of the world?

    Mario Perera
    Kadawata

  11. Lorenzo Says:

    “Consolita was a student at the Institute of Catholicism at Gurunagar and she had allegedly been sexually harassed constantly by a Catholic priest serving at the institute.”

    What is most worrying is this happened in the HOLY WEEK!!!

    Just a day after PALM SUNDAY (NO pun intended! ) this dirty priest attacked the Tamil woman!

    Govt. should take MAXIMUM mileage from this. IF they have brains. SOMEHOW find a Tamil woman and link to Kasippu Joseph Goebbels. She may even commit “suicide”. FRAME and CASTRATE these dirty sex maniacs. Better still, get the “LTTE” to do it.

    Gurunagar Institute is NOTORIOUS for ghosts and sex maniacs. It should be closed down and razed to the ground.

  12. AnuD Says:

    It is stupid to rename ancient cultural festivals because now the demography is different and political requirements take priority for every thing.

    Just investigate around and see that April month is harvesting time. In Asia, many countries and many societies celebrate this time in different names.

    Sri Lankan people are the only stupid idiots who want to change it because political needs are different.

    Christians and catholics if sinhala muslims come into the scene those are all new in the Sri Lankan culture. Sinhala – buddhist culture is the one existed.

    New introductions should understand the reality.

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