The High Commission of Sri Lanka together with the Sri Lankan community in Singapore organized the Sinhala and Hindu New Year celebrations this year on Sunday, 8th May 2016 at Toa Payoh Town Park, Singapore. The event was attended by a large number of Sri Lankans, with a host of Sri Lankan migrant workers in Singapore and many Singaporean well-wishers.
The day-long celebrations began with the religious blessings, singing of the national anthem and lighting of traditional oil lamp by H.E. Mr. Nimal Weeraratne, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Singapore, followed by serving of Kiribath and a variety of sweetmeats laid out on a traditional New Year table to all participants. Arousing the New Year festive atmosphere in Singapore, the Sri Lankan ladies dressed in customary costumes played 'raban' bringing in the rhythmic sound of the New Year to the occasion.
Over a thousand of people who flocked to the grassy lawns of the park enjoyed the day participating in many new year games (avurudu kreeda) such as the weaving of coconut leaves, breaking water pots, bun eating race, placing eye on the elephant, bursting balloons, and a fancy dress parade. The tug-of-war, which was the highlight of day's competitions concluded the fun-filled afternoon of New Year games.
The cultural show started later in the day with gracious presence of the Chief Guest of this year’s celebrations, Hon. Thalatha Athukorala, Minister of Foreign Employment, H.E. the High Commissioner and many other dignitaries representing both the Sri Lankan and Singaporean community. Minister Athukorala speaking at this occasion reminded that the Sinhala and Hindu New Year is a unique festival celebrated by the Sri Lankans all over the world gathering as one community upholding our cultural traditions and values. Praising the Sri Lankan migrant workers for their magnanimous contribution to the country's economic development, the Minister in her speech, also made a solemn pledge to look after the welfare of the Sri Lankan migrant workers and the well-being of their families back at home. The Minister also expressed intention to work towards enhancing the employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in countries like Singapore.
While Conveying his best wishes for all Sri Lankans, particularly for those residing in Singapore on this special occasion, the High Commissioner in his address highlighted the importance of multi-cultural events of this nature to promote national reconciliation and unity among Sri Lankans, and in continuing these traditions that have been preserved for many generations. The children from the Sunday School of Lankaramaya Temple, students from Apsaras School of fine Arts, members of the Christian Society of Sri Lankans, and the Sri Lankan migrant workers in Singapore enthralled the audience in this cultural show with a variety of songs and dance performances. An energetic musical evening was the perfect way to round up the celebrations that brought the audience to their feet and enjoyed every moment of it. The winners of the games were awarded valuable gifts with the courtesy of well-wishers of the event.