NEW YEAR

Trip Start Mar 06, 2014
1
8
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Trip End Apr 21, 2014


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Flag of Sri Lanka  , Southern Province,
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We did our own little bit of celebrating over the past weekend for the Sri Lankan new year. We headed to a little town outside of Galle called Unawatuna where we met Sarah and Jenna. It was lovely catching up with the girls and hearing about what they've been up to on their travels and how their time at their project was.

On Sunday we headed back to our host family as they and their neighbours invited us to join in with their new year games. It was great seeing all the different games they use to engage the children.
The Sri Lankan and Scottish NY is completely different. The Sri Lankan is more child focused- with all the games and prizes, the children are included. Whereas in Scotland everything is focused around partying and drinking. If anything, the Sri Lankan new year is something like a gala day, full of fun and games. Some of their games include:
Blowing up a balloon until in pops in your face, then running to the finish line.
Drinking a bottle of fanta through a straw and then running to the finish line.
Eating a Roll with your hands tied behind your back.
These are just some of the games which happen to encourage children to be apart of the new year celebrations.

On Monday we watched as the coconut milk was turned on. Outside our host dad was making a fire and boiling the milk like his ancestors would. We watched as the flames rose and the milk bubbled. This is very prosperous and bring luck to a family home and businesses. After the milk is boiled it must be scattered around the houses grounds to bring the luck. I learnt all about this during my time at school. I felt so cultured knowing about why and how they did it!
We waited until a precise time (11:11 I think) to join in with all Sinhalese and Tamil people across Sri Lanka to tuck into our milk rice, kokki and oil cake. It was so good!!

As part of the new year celebrations, family members visit each other and give presents. As our host family did this, we decided to visit the boys in the remand unit as we knew they wouldn't have very many visitors at this special time. We didn't go to teach but to spend time with them and play some new year games and some sport.
It was completely worth it. They were so happy and excited to see us! We took them outside for a while and played some volleyball, football and pass. I thoroughly enjoyed my day!!

It was amazing being able to spend such an important time with a Sri Alan family- to see the traditions (being given beetle leaf) and being welcomed to join in with their celebrations. I feel like I've definitely become more culturally aware since my time in Sri Lanka. It's definitely a fantastic time to visit the country- everywhere is so vibrant and colourful with lots of things happening. Galle town is full of busy markets with shop owners selling frocks, sarongs, blouses and skirts all for the new year.
Reflecting back on today and yesterday, I feel so grateful. Grateful that such a lovely family welcomed us to join in with their celebrations. As tourists on holiday, this isn't something you could ever experience!

Ellie
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