Twelve Yakkamkari Gara Shanthi Karmaya | Daily News

Twelve Yakkamkari Gara Shanthi Karmaya

Recently, in order to rid the Piliyandala area from all its distress, Ms. Lalani. S. Premasiri, the Cultural Officer of the Provincial Secretariat initiated a blessings programme with goodwill to the nation sanctioned by the Ministry of Cultural and Arts, Western Province supported by the Secretary, Provincial Secretariat, Kesbewa.

Pradeep Yasaratne, Secretary, Colombo District, Kanishka Sri Lal, Asst.Secretary, Ministry of Cultural and Arts, K.P. Premasiri, Secretary, Provincial Secretariat, Kesbewa and a number of others graced the occasion.

As a Buddhist Ritual in Sri Lanka, Garayak Shanthikarmaya blessing has come down from generations. It is a ritual that invokes blessings. This had started from Ambalangoda. The famous Saman Lokumalage had been gifted with this talent which dates back centuries and which is continued by his son Ranganath de Silva today. He is a Lecturer of the Visual Arts and Design and Performing Arts Unit at the Kelaniya University.

This event is performed to remove despondency from homes, bringing cleanliness and prosperity to the particular place, area or a person. This is done mostly in the Southern area. To get a bounty harvest fishermen make them dance near their boats.

At the Provincial District of Kesbewa, for the first time in the whole island, all twelve devils (good spirits) were made to perform. Normally, people make one or two devils dance. But at the event covered in Kesbewa, all twelve danced which was a very rare spectacle for people to see. There is a strong belief that these twelve devils are friends of the people. They remove the sadness of people who undergo stress.

The story behind this event is with regard to the Pattini Goddess and Kataragama God. At the wedding of Kataragama God and Walli Amma Goddess, it is revealed that the place should be clean for the Pattini Goddess to arrive. The place was unclean, as Walli Amma belonged to the “Yaksha Group”, so the wedding house had been decorated with pieces of animal flesh. So the Gara Yakku with the permission of Pattini Goddess arrived at the spot and ate the animal flesh and spread clean yellow sand. So the Pattini Goddess gave permission to the leader Goddess of Gara Yakun and the man controlling them (Athura) to cure and clean the men living on earth. So by their dance, people get cured and their homes and places are blessed with prosperity.

So the Provincial Secretariat organised this on the instructions of Ranganath de Silva, Lecturers of Fine Arts University, to hold this at their premises where all twelve devils were made to dance. They performed with “Thembili”, “Smoke”, “Squeezing the neck of a hen”, and Pirith water to bless the whole town, giving prosperity to the area, bringing good health and “burning away” the COVID-19 virus. Finally the “Keeladara” Devil climbs to the specially made tree and starts swinging until it breaks to depict all miseries had vanished.

The event ended with a vote of thanks by an officer of the Provincial Secretariat to much appreciation and applause by the large audience.

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