The Sri Lankan community in Qatar recently turned out in large numbers at Al Sadd Sports Club to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year 2018 (Bak Maha Ulela). A S P Liyanage, Sri Lankan ambassador, was the chief guest. Also present were R Kohularangan, Minister Counsellor at Embassy of Sri Lanka; L P D Jayawardane, Counsellor (Labour and Welfare) at Embassy of Sri Lanka; W A C Thissera, Deputy General Manager of Bank of Ceylon, Sri Lanka; Leon Khalid, Sales Manager at Sri Lankan Airlines; the representatives from Vodafone, other staff of Sri Lankan embassy, the sponsors and the guests.
The programme was organised by the Sri Lankan embassy in collaboration with Sri Lanka Co-ordinating Committee Qatar. The organising committee had lined up many traditional and sports events for the participation of community members. The events included, pillow fight, volleyball, tug of war, 100 metre race, breaking the pot, fancy dress (open for males and females), fancy dress (children), Jana Kavi (traditional poems highlighting importance of the New Year), Raban (traditional drum, played during the New Year festivities), Pol Gahama (scraping of coconut by women usually done as an entertainment during the celebrations), Digama Kondey (selecting a woman with longest hair, an entertaining event), Elephant eye (blind folded participants have to mark the eyes of an elephant drawn on a board), bursting the Balloon (for children under 10 years), Singithi Avurudu Kumari (children in traditional attire parade on stage for selection of Avurudu Kumari, girl, and Kumara, boy) and Avurudu Kumariya (young women dressed in traditional attire parade on stage for selection of the New Year queen).
Many Sri Lankan Associations and Old Boy’s Associations (OBA’s) namely, Sri Lanka Quantity Surveyors Qatar, St. Sylvester’s College Kandy OBA Qatar, Sri Lankan Sports Club Doha, Sri Lankan Friends Club, Ethera Api Qatar, Old Anandians in Qatar, Lanka Lions Doha, St. Anthony’s College Kandy OBA Qatar, Sri Lanka Majilis Qatar, National Diploma in Technology Alumini Association Qatar, Federation of Sri Lankan Muslims Association – Qatar and other community members supported the celebrations by conducting the many events.
Nandana Hettiarachchi, an actor, and Shiromika Fernando, an actress, both from Sri Lanka, attended the celebrations. Independent Television Network (ITN) Sri Lanka sponsored by Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) covered the event and would telecast the same in Sri Lanka at a later date. Children from the dance academy of Dinu Rangayathanaya, choreographed by Dinu Lawrance, performed at the opening ceremony, which was followed by the hoisting of the flags of Qatar and Sri Lanka, playing of the national anthems and lighting the traditional oil lamp. Traditional breakfast was also served to the participants.
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