On the 14th April 2018 Sri Lankans and the friends of Sri Lankans gathered together to celebrate the Sinhala and Hindu New Year in Hounslow, Middlesex. It was organised by the Athula Dassana Multi-cultural Buddhist Community Centre under the supervision and direction of the Chief Sanganayake of Amarapura Siri Saddham Wansa Nikaya of Great Britain Venerable Wanduramba Kassapa Thero.
It was a glorious early summer day. Bright sunshine and the afternoon temperature that reached just over twenty degrees Celsius! It was a perfect day for outdoor activities. Now in its 7th year, more than 600 Sri Lankans and their friends joined this joyous event.
At 11:00am the Celebrations began with singing of the Sri Lanka’s national anthem and hoisting of the national flag. We knew the event will be the best Aluth Avurudu festival yet when we had over 30 children; all under the age of 10 lined up to participate in the very first Aluth Avurudu game!! The day got better and better; we had over 100 children take part in over 15 traditional Aluth Avurudu games. In keeping with the Sri Lankan tradition, in total there were over 30 games associated with the Aluth Avurudu including a number of popular Avurudu games such as ‘kotta pora’, ‘kana mutti’, coconut scraping and the ever famous adult’s and children’s ‘kamba edeema’ (tug-of-war).
The Event was attended by a number of dignitaries including the Deputy Mayor of London Borough of Hounslow; Councillor Mukesh Malhotra, Acting Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK; H.E. Mr Sugeeshwara Gunaratna, Deputy Mayor of London Borough of Harrow; Councillor Kairul Kareema Marikar, Councillor Sam Hearn; Conservative party Group Leader – London Borough of Hounslow, Councillor Shachin Shah; Labour party Group Leader – London Borough Harrow, Mr Nalin Perera; Promotion officer – Sri Lankan Tourist Board and Managing Director Estetica Dental Clinic; Mrs Nishanie Bajramovic.
The much anticipated Children’s ‘Avurudu Kumaraya’ and the ‘Avurudu Kumari’ pageants also took to the stage at the celebrations, with the winners receiving their prizes from the Deputy Mayor of London Borough of Hounslow; Councillor Mukesh Malhotra and Acting Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK; H.E. Mr Sugeeshwara Gunaratna
We are extremely grateful to the Dhamma School Development Committee members and Dhamma School parents who organised and managed all the Avurudu Games.
Acting Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK; H.E. Mr Sugeeshwara Gunaratna while thankingVenerable Wanduramba Kassapa Thero for his tireless efforts to organise this event, in his speech he also highlighted the significance of the Aluth Avurudu events in United Kingdom.
Deputy Mayor of London Borough of Hounslow; Councillor Mukesh Malhotra also thanked Venerable Wanduramba Kassapa Thero for his contributions to the Sri Lankan Community in Hounslow area andextend the thanks to all those who have contributed in one way or the other to make the festival a success. In her speech, deputy Mayor of London Borough of Harrow; Councillor Kairul Kareema Marikar thanked Venerable Wanduramba Kassapa Thero and highlighted the traditions, customs, the rites and the rituals associated with the New Year followed for the enhancement of health, prosperity, quality of life and recreation with emphasis on renewal of goodwill depict a rich heritage that is heavy with meaning to the Sri Lankan Community.