The Sri Lankan community in Qatar turned out in large numbers to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year (Bak Maha Ulela 2017) at Al Sadd Sports Club on Friday. The programme was organised by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Co-ordinating Committee Qatar.
Sri Lankan ambassador P.D.P.S.A Liyanage was the chief guest. Also present were the embassy staff members, sponsors and invitees. The organising committee had lined up many traditional and sporting activities for the community members.
Registrations for the events started as early as 6am with many community members coming in early to register themselves for activities such as pillow fight, volleyball, tug-of-war (male and female), 100-metre race (male and female), breaking the pot (male and female), fancy dress (open), fancy dress (children), Jana Kavi (open), Raban (open), Pol Gahama (female), Digama Kondey (female), elephant eye (open), bursting the balloon (children under 10 years), Singithi Avurudu Kumari/Kumara and Avurudu Kumariya.
Popular actress Damitha Abeyratne and actor Mihira Sirithilaka were flown in from Sri Lanka for the celebrations. They enthralled the audience with their comedy acts in the morning session and later by performing popular songs during the musical programme in the afternoon with the Doha-based Sri Lankan band Respect Plus and other community members.
The programme began with children from the community dressed in traditional attire welcoming the chief guest followed by children from the dance academy of Dinu Rangayathanaya leading the chief guest and community members for the hoisting of the national flags of Qatar and Sri Lanka. The national anthems of the two countries played in the background. The ambassador then lit the traditional oil lamp and cut the ceremonial cake.
The Platinum sponsor of the programme was Vodafone Qatar, while DFCC Bank Sri Lanka was the Gold sponsor. The Silver sponsors were Trico International, Readymix Qatar, DOMASCO and Al Bateel Securicor.
Sri Lanka Quantity Surveyors Qatar, Institute of Engineers Sri Lanka Qatar Chapter, Sri Lankan Sports Club Doha, Sri Lankan Friends Club, Lanka Lions Doha, St. Sylvester’s College Kandy OBA Qatar, Old Anandians in Doha and St. Anthony’s College Kandy OBA Qatar co-ordinated the many activities that were lined up. The Sri Lankan Community Benevolent Fund operated a food stall at the venue the proceeds of which will go towards charity. Traditional breakfast was served.
Hiru TV recorded the event and will telecast same in Sri Lanka at a later date. Radio Ranlanka also broadcasted the proceedings.
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