Avurudu Reflections | Page 4 | Daily News

Avurudu Reflections

Another Sinhala and Tamil New Year will dawn tomorrow (14). According to ancient astrological beliefs, the transition of the Sun from Meena (Pisces) to Mesha (Aries), marks the beginning of a New Year, called Avurudu in local parlance. The Sinhala and Tamil New Year, celebrated every April in Sri Lanka and many other countries in the region, is a major event on our cultural calendar.

Avurudu is perhaps the only event that motivates an entire populace to sit down for a meal at the same time and begin work at the same time. Avurudu teaches us the value of togetherness, forgiveness, peace and co-existence. Avurudu literally brings the whole country together through the auspicious times. There are those who scoff at auspicious times, but they teach us the value of punctuality. This should not be confined to the New Year Nekaths (auspicious times) but rather continued throughout the year.

In Sri Lanka, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year has become a national event, without being confined to Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus per se. Sri Lanka's very multi-ethnic nature means that Avurudu transcends all man-made boundaries, enveloping all communities and religious groups in its joys. This New Year has dawned in a month that has exemplified the multi-ethnic and multi-religious character of Sri Lanka. It started with Easter Sunday, a Holy Day for Christians celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The month ends with Vesak, the Thrice Blessed Day that marks the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing Away of the Buddha. Vesak, though primarily celebrated by Buddhists, is a national festival that sees everyone coming together.

Such ethnic and religious unity is the need of the hour, especially when political and other forces opposed to the peaceful co-existence of various communities are working overtime to ignite the flames of hatred. We have sadly seen the destruction they can cause both physically and mentally in the recent incidents in Digana. We must resolve not to let such incidents happen again. Amity is the only path to peace, which our Nation so critically needs.

The Government has set in motion a viable programme for peace and reconciliation. The proposed new Constitution will also incorporate many chapters to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation while creating a truly Sri Lankan identity. This is just one of the significant steps taken by the Government in the quest for peace.

Peace is very much a matter of the heart. And peace should begin at home. This is the lesson that Avurudu teaches us. It is a time for forgetting all past disputes with family members, neighbours, superiors and colleagues. It is a time for giving and for forgiving. Avurudu is a time for renewing bonds within families and among relatives. We should forget animosities that give rise to hatred and radiate compassion instead. Engaging in religious observances during the Nonagatha period brings religion closer to our lives that are veering alarmingly away from moral values.

It is indeed a time for recalling and re-engaging in cultural traditions that we have nearly forgotten. Thus when we offer a sheaf of betel to someone at Avurudu, it signifies that we no longer harbour any ill-will towards that person and wish him/her long life and good health. Thus Ganu Denu (transaction) goes beyond the literal monetary meaning of the concept of give and take – that sharing and caring should be an integral part of our lives.

Respecting elders starting with one’s parents is another moral value that comes to the fore during the Avurudu season. At a time when elders are sometimes neglected by their children, who prefer to keep mothers and fathers in elders’ homes, Avurudu reminds us of the importance of respecting and protecting them. Elders impart wisdom to the younger generation and guide them on the correct path in a world where moral values have been swept away by a torrent of unbridled commercialism.

In fact, the message of Avurudu itself is at risk of getting lost in a sea of commercialism spread by vendors who urge people to spend relentlessly for New Year celebrations. Commercialism has unfortunately crept into all national and religious festivals. Judging by newspaper and television advertisements, Avurudu has become one big shopping and entertainment season. Its core values have been swept aside. But this should not be the case. We should see through the commercial veneer into the very heart and soul of these national events. But we must look beyond the new clothes and sweetmeats to grasp the true meaning of Avurudu, which is to bring happiness to our hearts and minds.

Major events such as Avurudu call for soul-searching on a national scale. This is a time to reflect collectively on why and where we have gone wrong and on how we could put things right in the future. Avurudu is not only an ideal opportunity for peace and reconciliation at home and in the village, but also in the country as a whole. That is one New Year resolution that we should be firmly determined to turn into reality.


There are 2 Comments

As Christians we believe that everytime is a good time because God has created the time, it is our belief. When you say some people scoff at doing things at the auspicious, you ridicule our belief. It is your belief that you should do things at the auspicious time, we do not criticise. Therefore, pl do not criticize our belief to make religious disharmony among people, it's very bad. I sometimes hear your bikkus criticize our beliefs, but our priests do not do it.

What started in 1956 thought to be ended in 2009 is it really ended. Ask yourself. Not one we see in your columns.politicians enjoy fragmenting the country by words deeds actions not relevant to hold the title politicians. Yes started in early 2954 joy yet finished unless all politicians must not dealing with power titles and leaders of all parties sees to that socially dividing the country is what we called leadership politics. Voted by mis guiding citizens for self glorification or get into the arena is a not a decent act. Constitution must say that. Past leaders passing laws


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