Celebrations were held on Saturday in the town of Mathagal. Some 200 Hindu families brought votive offerings to the god Ganesh. "Sustainable peace and harmony are inevitable for a country to make progress," says opposition leader.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – Hindu Tamils met last Saturday (14 April) in Mathagal, Jaffna Peninsula, to celebrate the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year (Aluth Avurudda) and promote a united and peaceful Sri Lanka.
“Our desire and prayer are to have a united country in which Tamils can enjoy the same respect and love throughout the nation," they said.
"Not only Tamils, but the whole Sri Lankan nation must live together with love and respect,” said Guru Sellappa Mangaleshwaran, the main kurukkal or priest at a local Hindu temple following Shaivism, at the Arashadi Siththy Vinayagar Kovil*.
“People must live with their minds at peace and in happiness. This country must travel all possible paths, there must be no barriers. This is my desire and prayer for the New Year."
The New Year celebrations began at 7 am with a pooja (a votive offering to the gods in the temple). At least 200 Hindu families participated in it.
The ceremony was accompanied by Tamil songs and music, whilst each family donated a large plate full of fruit, sweets, coconuts and flowers, and placed it in front of the statue of the god Ganesh for the blessing. At the end, each family brought home the blessed offerings, to share with family and neighbours.
L. Sindhuja, a primary school teacher, prayed for her young pupils.
Vijeyalakshmi Vimalachandra, who teaches at the Nunasi Vidyalaya School, said several families of fishermen and farmers came to the temple. "I prayed for unity and peace, which are not yet visible in our country,” she added, “This island must move forward and join forces."
A group of young women, Yalini, Nirajini, Thushanthini and Krishani, expressed the same wishes.
President Maithripala Sirisena also issued a message for Aluth Avurudda. In it, he said, "The New Year binds with the traditional customs which blooms inter relations and family relationships and showers the human thoughts with refreshing fragrance which flows to the future with our deep understanding and respect we have for the traditions of the New Year."
Tamil opposition leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan also issue a message. "Lasting peace and harmony is inevitable for a country to make progress in development and other areas of concern,” he said.
“My prayer is that in this New Year we will be able to overcome all the obstacles and challenges in framing a new Constitution which paves the way to achieve a lasting solution to the national question and gives the rights to the people to live with dignity, self-respect and self-esteem.”
* Kovil is the Tamil term for a Hindu temple in the Dravidian style of architecture.