What is Avurudu?
On January 1st of each year, many nations around the world mark the beginning of the new year, while some nations celebrate on a different day. In Sri Lanka, people welcome the new year on January 1st as is customary across the globe, but Sinhala and Tamil new year is traditionally celebrated on April 14th each year.It is known domestically as the “Sinhala and Hindu Aluth Avurudda” or “Avurudu” in short form. It is the biggest new year celebration in Sri Lanka which is based on the sun’s movement from Meena rashiya to Mesha rashiya. Both Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus celebrate the day. Sinhala and Tamil new year is also known as the ‘Sun Festival’ because it’s a ritual performed to honor the god of the sun for hundreds and hundreds of years now. Sinhala and Tamil new year is the ideal festival to experience Sri Lanka’s core traditions, rituals fun activities, and traditional games which can’t experience anywhere else
At the beginning of April, there is green everywhere, fresh leaves on trees, flowers in bloom, vegetable, and fruits in plenty, and the songs of birds in the air. The feeling of a fresh spring is in the air. Moreover, Sinhala and Tamil new year signifies the reaping of the harvest and social customs especially of the farming community. After the MAHA harvest the farmers celebrate the occasion and express gratitude.
Sinhala and Tamil new year is celebrated with a series of traditions, foods and fun games that take place during the celebration. The rituals associated with the Sinhala and Tamil new year begins with bathing on the last day of the old year and viewing the moon on the same night. All Sinhala and Tamil New Year rituals are performed during an auspicious time, which means the entire country cooks, eats, and engages in work at the same time. The Sinhala and Tamil new year rituals start with a ritual called the neutral period(nonagathaya). During this period people keep off from all work and do nothing but engage in religious activities. When the Sinhala and Tamil new year comes, the first ritual is the lighting the hearth of the house to prepare milk rice which symbolizes prosperity. Then Ahara Anubawaya, Weda Alleema, Ganudenu Kireema and the next day morning anointing ritual will perform at the temple.
Food and Avurudu games play a major role in Sinhala and Tamil new year celebration. In every household sweet like kavum, kokis, thalaguli, aggala, aasmi, aluwa and many more traditional sweets are made. During this season people who work in cities return to their hometown or village to celebrate Sinhala and Tamil new year with their family. Some of the Avurudu games include placing the eye on the elephant, eating buns the fastest, pillow fights, tug-o-war, breaking the pots, climbing the grassy pole, and so on. Those several unique customs and traditional beliefs linked with Sinhala and Tamil new year celebrations in Sri Lanka make it more special. The sense of goodwill and friendship among relations and friends is also seen during the festival time. During Sinhala and Tamil new year season everyone gets together and organizes events that include many traditional games to celebrate the season and children and elders enjoy participating in such events.
Avurudu LCM at AIESEC in USJ
AIESEC in USJ organized a Sinhala and Tamil new year celebration, LCM AVURUDU on the 22nd of April 2023. There were more than 120+ delegates in the Sinhala and Tamil new year celebration. At 10.00 am as per the AIESEC culture, the LCM started with Jives. Then the chair of the event was introduced with a funny drama. The chair was a former LCVP B2C, Binashi Perera. Her experience sharing session was very interactive, and fun and it was very valuable to every member. Then we had back office and front office functional updates and items which were performed by our very creative and talented AIESECERs. Finally, LCP for term 22.23 gave a valuable speech by admiring all the hard work done by the members to become the most outstanding LC in 22.23 term. and then LCP for term 23.24 also did a speech by admiring all the hard work and giving new hope and expectations for term 23.24. Then the LCM ended.
Then AIESEC in USJ Avurudu celebration started with the opening of Avurudu kema mesaya with milk rice, kevum, kosik, mun kavum and many more Sinhala kevili. After the Avurudu kema mesaya, a beautiful dance and a song were presented by our talented AIESECRES. Then the Avurudu games started. There were many games organized by the Organizing Committee, pass and pop, leek balls, segavunu amuththa seweema, there-legged games, water ballon pass, toffee roll, pani babare and kamba adeema, saree andaweema and finally avurudu kumara/kumariya thereema. All the games were played and enjoyed by the members and most enjoyable games were Pani babare and Kamba adeema. All members were able to make fun and joyful memories.
As a delegate, this was my first Avurudu celebration experience with AIESEC in USJ. It was a fun event not only for me but also for every AIESECER. One of the core values of Sinhala and Tamil new year is to renew our friendships and relationships. In this Avurudu celebration also we were able to renew our friendship and make new friends. As an AIESECER and undergraduate, all members are having a busy schedule. Therefore, this Avurudu celebration was a great experience for everyone to relax and have an enjoyable moment. This celebration was able to remind us of the key values of AIESEC, building leadership through collaboration and collectivism as exemplified by its exchange programs.
Sinhala and Tamil New year, which is rich in culture and tradition could be celebrated by all as a national festival and unique features made use of to promote friendship among people. Not only that, it’s a great opportunity to showcase cultural values to the world and to experience Sri Lankan unique cross-cultural movement.