Zones of Peace

Sacred Groves as Zones of Peace This initiative seeks to re-establish the traditional character of the ‘Kataragama’ initiation and pilgrimage by creating a sanctuary for the living tradition in the Okanda-Kudimbigala area, within the Yala East National Park, part of Deviyange Kaele or God’s Own Forest. Any geographical site, from a simple shrine or meditation room to a national park […]

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Traditional Sri Lankan Drums

Sri Lankan Traditional Drums Sri Lanka has been having many types of drums in use from ancient times, and reference to these are found in some of the classical literature e.g. Pujawaliya, Thupawansaya, Dalada Siritha etc. Although there had been about 33 types of drums, today we find only about ten and the rest are […]

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The King as Rainmaker

The King as Rain-Maker By J.B. Disanayaka Chapter Seven from Water in Culture: The Sri Lankan Heritage (Colombo: Ministry of Environment & Parliamentary Affairs, 1992) pp. 51-56 Indian concepts of kingship attribute divine powers to the king: the king was the God on earth. One of the powers he was endowed with was the power to cause rain. […]

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Sri Lankan Caste System

Sri Lankan Caste System (Source: @ Library of Congress) When the Portuguese began to trade extensively with South Asia, they quickly noticed a fundamental difference between South Asian societies and those of other world areas. In India and Sri Lanka, societies are broken up into a large number of groups who do not intermarry, who […]

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Rituals and Customs of Ancient Lanka

Rituals and customs of ancient Lanka by Florence Wickramage [Imaeg] Customs and rituals have been part and parcel of the Lankan society from ancient times. They have been handed down from generation to generation spanning over the 2,500 year old history of the country. Most of these customs and rituals are connected with the day […]

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Names in Sri Lanka

Naming Conventions of Sri Lanka The Sinhalese community usually have two names. The first is called the “GE” (Sinhalese for House or Tribe, pronounced “gay”) Name while the second is the actual name of the individual. The “GE” name may indicate the place from which their family originated, the title or profession of the Head […]

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Ethnic Conflicts

Sri Lanka: keeping the peace in a sharply divided society By K M de Silva, BA (Ceylon), PhD, DLitt. (London)* I. Introduction There is nothing like the current renewal of negotiations between the government of Sri Lanka, and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to concentrate our minds on where and when things went […]

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Dancing Masks of Sri Lanka

Classical Masks of Sri Lanka The Yakun Natima – devil dance ritual of Sri Lanka A MIDNIGHT ceremony. Crowds milling, bodies slick with sweat in the tropical night. Torches lining an earthen arena. A patient is dazed with illness, propped on a low seat. The rhythmic beat of drums. The smell of smoking resin. A […]

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Classical Dances of Sri Lanka

Classical Dances of Sri Lanka The origin of Sri Lankan dances goes back to immemorial times of aboriginal tribes and “yakkas” (devils). According to a Sinhalese legend, Kandyan dances originate, 2500 years ago, from a magic ritual that broke the spell on a bewitched king. An ancient chronicle, the Mahavamsa, states that when the culture hero Vijeya […]

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Avurudu Rituals The Ayurveda system

Avurudu Rituals:The Ayurveda system By Dr. Upali Pilapitiya “Sinhala and Hindu New Year custom and traditions are mainly based on Ayurveda system of Medicine which has been developed on the Principles of Hindu Philosophy. The New Year begins with the offerings to various gods. As a method of wading off evil spirits and misfortunes brought […]

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