The dawning of the New Year has meant the arrival of the much-lauded Sinhala New Year Show. Its execution was a labour of love produced through the hard-work and solidarity of its team of organisers, the East London Sinhala Welfare Association.
The show too was significant, as it marked the organisations 25th consecutive year running the programme. On show were a mixture of usual numbers and a dashing of new entrants, with a few items brought to the stage by groups based outside East London. A huge crowd was in attendance to enjoy the day’s revelries.
The day was hosted by the lovely and enigmatic pair, Gayan Mahawatha and Maynu Perera. The opening speeches were given by the President of the SWA, Mr Ajith Silva and Labour MP for East Ham, Mr Stephen Timms. The lighting of the traditional oil lamp was conducted by a number of distinguished guests, including a member of the Sangha, Ven Madugalle Mahanama Thero, the MP Stephen Timms, members of the organisation, sponsors, and other guests.
A two-minute silence was also held in remembrance of the brave soldiers who had sacrificed their lives during the war for the freedom of the country. A multitude of acts lit the stage covering the crafts of song, dance and drama. The opening Pooja dance, which is a dance usually conducted as a blessing for special events like these, is a regular on the New Year calendar, which once again left audience members enthralled by its beautiful dancers as they moved gracefully across the stage. The Avurudu Raban, another favourite of audiences, was lapped up too.
Performers of all ages came together to create something rather special, showcasing the undying unity of Sri Lanka. The variety of stage performances, from uplifting comedies to invigorating dance routines, captured the very essence of the country.
Its diverse and lush culture and tranquil setting had all been represented through the variety of the day’s performances. The line-up included traditional dances choreographed by Kusum Silva and a dancing group participating as part of Neetha Rohini Ranga Kala Kendraya, with a children’s song by Sunday school children from the Sri Sambodhi Meditation Centre in Plaistow, amongst many others, which helped showcase the country’s richness and beauty.
The day was eventually brought to a close with a vote of thanks given by the esteemed Dr Wijewardana, followed by the sounding of the National Anthem, which brought everyone together; families and friends, old and young, to rejoice once more and pay solemn respects to their one true Motherland.
Report by Rasika Silva