Sri Lankan nationals and the British friends of Sri Lanka flocked together to celebrate the Sinhala and Hindu New Year in Hounslow, Middlesex. Now in its 6th year, more than 800 Sri Lankans and their friends joined this joyous event. The event was organised by the Athula Dassana Multi-cultural Buddhist Community Centre under the supervision and direction of the Chief Sanganayake of Amarapura Saddham Wansa Niyaka of Great Britain Venerable Wanduramba Kassapa Thero.
Minister Cultural & Education, Sri Lanka High Commission; Mr Manoj Warnapala marked his presence as the Chief Guest of the event. The Event was attended by a number of other dignitaries including the Mayor of London Borough of Hounslow; Councillor Ajmer Grewal, Councillor Pritam Grewal - London Borough of Hounslow, Councillor Kairul Kareema Marikar – London Borough of Harrow, Mr Nalin Perera - Promotion officer - Sri Lankan Tourist Board, Managing Director Estetica Dental Clinic; Mrs Nishanie Bajramovic and President of the FOC 2017, Mr. Ravi Raveendran.
In addition to the special invited guests the Athula Dassana Multi-cultural Buddhist Community Centre also received a number of special wishes and messages from Mrs Theresa May MP – Prime Minister of United Kingdom and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka H.E. Ranil Wickremesinghe.
At 11:00am the Celebrations began with singing of the Sri Lanka’s national anthem and hoisting of the national flag. Traditional customs and games coupled with cultural items performed by the young and the old, added colour to the event. In keeping with the Sri Lankan tradition there were 37 games associated with the Aluth Avurudu including a number of popular Avurudu games such as ‘kotta pora’, ‘kana mutti’, coconut scraping and the ever famous adult’s and children’s ‘kamba edeema’ (tug-of-war).
The much anticipated Children’s ‘Avurudu Kumaraya’ and the ‘Avurudu Kumari’ pageants also took to the stage at the celebrations, with the winners receiving their prizes from the Mayor of London Borough of Hounslow; Councillor Ajmer Grewal.
We are extremely grateful to the Dhamma School Development Committee members and Dhamma School parents who organised and managed all the Avurudu Games.
Minister Cultural & Education, Sri Lanka High Commission; Mr Manoj Warnapala while thanking Venerable Wanduramba Kassapa Thero for his tireless efforts to organise this event, in his speech he also highlighted the significance of the New Year events in United Kingdom. While commending the Athula Dassana Multi-cultural Buddhist Community Centre for organising such events annually, to preserve the traditional values among the Sinhala and Hindu communities of Sri Lanka, which would be passed down to younger generations.
Mayor of London Borough of Hounslow; Councillor Ajmer Grewal also thanked Venerable Wanduramba Kassapa Thero for his contributions to the Sri Lankan Community in Hounslow area and extend the thanks to all those who have contributed in one way or the other to make the festival a success. Councillor Grewal concluded her speech by highlighting the traditions, customs, the rites and the rituals associated with the New Year followed for the enhancement of health, prosperity, quality of life and recreation with emphasis on renewal of goodwill depict a rich heritage that is heavy with meaning to the Sri Lankan Community.
Venerable Wanduramba Kassapa Thero in his speech thanked the special invited guest for their ongoing support and thanked the Rangani dancing Group, Dhamma School children and other groups who contributed to the cultural show. Venerable Kassapa Thero also appreciated all the volunteers who helped in various ways, and the financial support of various event sponsors.
After the official opening of the Cultural show the guests were bought to the Audience hall whilst the ceremonial dancing was being played. Rangani dancing Groups were presented items of highlighted the New Year of Sri Lanka. One of the main highlights of this year’s festival was the cultural show performed by the children of the Dhamma School. This year’s Cultural show was an excellent demonstration of the artistic talents and cultural values of both children and adults within the Sri Lankan Community in the United Kingdom.
Miss Maheshi Kokila and Mr Chanaka Samarakoon were the commentators of the festival. Photography and Video by Mr Asanaka Hemachandra, Advertising & Computer Design by Mr Disan Nanayakkara.
Finally, this year’s Aluth Avurudu festival organised by the Athula Dassana Multi-cultural Buddhist Community Centre was a great success and we hope to see you at the 2018 Aluth Avurudu festival!