Visit - January 2011 in Sri Lanka.

The month of January 2011 features a couple of religious festivals in Sri Lanka
:: Duruthu Perahera, or the Kelaniya Perahera pageant festive procession
:: Thai Pongal
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Visit - January 2011 Highlights

Duruthu Perahera, or the Kelaniya Perahera pageant festive procession

Duruthu Perahera, or the Kelaniya Perahera pageant festive procession, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Period: Three nights in the month of January 2012. The festive procession begins on a full moon (poya) day.
Time: 7 pm onwards
Host: The event is organized by the Buddhist temple of Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara in Kelaniya
Spectators: locals and a good sprinkling of foreigners
Starting Point: Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, (Kelaniya Temple) built on the banks of the River Kelani ganga,Kelaniya, North-east of the city centre, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Kelaniya Temple located about 11km (7 miles), north-east of Colombo Fort is a major landmark in the city.

The Duruthu Perahera, or the Kelaniya Perahera pageant festive procession, a popular Buddhist cultural event has been held annually in Colombo, in commemoration of Gauthama Buddha’s third visit to Sri Lanka, since January 1927. The colorful and vibrant pageant procession featuring costumed actors, whip crackers torch-bearers, performing dancers, drummers, devotees dressed in white, gaily caparisoned Elephants and acrobats make this pageant the most colorful and most popular low-country pageant procession.
The first procession, "Udamaluwa" Perahera, starts on the upper terrace of the temple with the ritual handing over of a sacred casket. Cannon fire marks the beginning of the parade and the casket is carefully placed on a colorful cushion.

The second procession, "Pahathamaluwa" Perahera, is more colorful and continues with the elephants carrying the sacred casket and divine insignia.

The festival reaches its climax with the "Randoli" Perahera, the most magnificent of the processions, held on the day prior to the January full moon.
Duruthu Perahera, or the Kelaniya Perahera pageant festive procession

Thai Pongal

Thai Pongal day in the year 2012 falls on 14th January. Tamils in Sri Lanka joins Tamils the world over in celebrating the dawn of a new year on Thai Pongal day. Pongal is a harvest festival, Tamil equivalent of Thanksgiving.

Tamil Thai Pongal (Festival of the Tamils), dedicated to Lord Surya is celebrated for four days giving thanks for a bountiful harvest of paddy: fireworks, singing and dancing feature the celebrations.

According to the calendar based on the solar system the year is divided into two halves following the apparent movement of the Sun northwards Uttarayanam and Southwards Dakshinayanam. Although the real solstice falls in December, when the sun leaves the zodiac sign of Sagittarius and enters that of capricorn (Makara), the Thai Pongal festival is celebrated in mid-January, or the Tamil month of Thai, to coincide with the rice harvest.

Thai Pongal is a festival of freedom, peace, unity and compassion crystallized in the last hymn on unity in the Indian spiritual text the Rig Veda. All pervading peace and unconditional love are the central theme of Thai Pongal: old enmities, personal animosities and rivalries are forgotten; differences are ironed out; estrangements are healed and reconciliation effected.

Thai Pongal generally includes customs & celebrations that are the expression of jubilation over life's renewal. On Thai Pongal, the family begins the day early. For the villagers, the Thai Pongal day begins early in the morning: every member of the family bath, puts on new clothes and gathers in the front of the house (muttram) to cook the traditional Pongal (rice pudding).

Having selected an open ground in the front of the house exposed to the direct sun light, the villagers decorate it with "Kolams" (Rangoli) drawings in rice flour paste so that ants and insects would feed on it. The kolams serve as a symbol of welcoming guests to the entrance of the house. At the center of the Kolam is a lump of cow-dung, which holds a five-petaled pumpkin flower-a symbol of fertility and an offering of love to the presiding deity.

The festival of Pongal is celebrated by Hindus over two days. The first day is devoted to the boiling milk and cooking rice pudding in a clay pot placed upon a fire wood hearth set up on three clay bricks. When water is boiled, three handfuls of rice are put into the pot and followed up with chakkarai (brown cane sugar) or katkandu (sugar candy), cow`s milk or coconut milk, roasted green gram (payaru), raisins, cashew nuts and few pods of cardamom, jaggery (solidified palm honey) and the syrup extracted from crushed sugar cane is added. This sweet rice pudding is offered first to the Sun God, and eaten at the family festive meal.
The second day, called Mattu (cattle) Pongal is dedicated to the oxen, which assist the farmers in the rice fields. The cows are washed and decorated with straw garlands hung around their necks and horns.
Thai Pongal

Hotels related to Visit Sri Lanka - January 2011

- Mahoora - Yala (327km from Yala) - Ella Jungle Resort (9079km from Ella)
- Plantation Hotel (0km from Kithulgala)


Sri Lanka

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