The Singhalese and Hindu New Year is almost on us (13th and 14th of April) and everything is grinding slowly to a halt. It is the biggest festival for Sri Lankans and I have just shown three pictures (from various sites not my own) which show the festivities which take place. The first is the traditional food prepared, milk rice which is exactly what it means and the sweetmeats which accompany it, the second is the very important blessings by the priest and the final picture is of a drum being played by three women.
The festival is important because it sends everyone (well almost everyone) scurrying home - home in this instance is your ancestral home where your parents live. Very often this is in a village quite a distance away from where you live/work so there is a lot of planning involved. Half the excitement is for the children because going to visit grandparents, grand aunts and uncles and aunts whom you see once a year means a lot of gifts going to be received. There is also for city children the opportunity to observe village customs, village food and also have some idea of how their parents lived before they moved to the bigger cities.
So many children in Sri Lanka are pressured by parents to perform academically well and it is a constant round of tuition classes and I sometimes wonder who is the more pressurised - the children or the parents. Everyone wants their son or daughter (thank the good Lord we do not have female prejudices here) to be a doctor, a lawyer or some big professional. They will not accept that everyone cannot shine in this way and that there is a lot of wonderful people out there who do simpler things but actually keep the whole world turning. I will not get on my hobby horse again at this time though!!!
Offices have been closed from Friday and the roads are empty. Everyone who has folk back in their villages have left or are preparing to leave. In my case, I am from the city - I do not have roots in a village so here we are. It has been however an extremely busy week as we do have agricultural property in a far off village and one of the traditional celebrations is where employers give gifts to their workers. This was done and another year has gone by. Tea factories and rubber factories have also closed and everyone is enjoying a well earned rest. Workers on agricultural properties labour very hard to earn their monthly wage and these ten days are a respite for them as well.
I have lots of books to read. Several read and reviews to be done. Wishing everyone a very happy, peaceful and blessed New Year.