70th Independence Day Celebration At London Thames Buddhist Vihara, U.K

Reported by : Rev.Dombawala Amitha - Photography by : Mr.Gihan Jayathilake

The London Thames Buddhist Vihara proudly celebrated the 70th Sri Lankan Independence Day on Sunday the 4th of February This special event were organised under the patronage of Ven. Phalagama Somarathana Nayake Thero, Chief Sanganayake of Great Britain, the head of the Vihara, Ven.Kohukumbure Siridhamma thero, Acting head of the Vihara & Ven Dombawala Amitha thero. The celebrations began at3.30pm with the hoisting of the Sri Lankan national flag and singing the national anthem, which was followed by the lighting of the traditional oil lamp ceremony. The event was graced with attendance of Her Excellency Mrs. Amari M. Wijewardane, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom as the Chief Guest. Many other dignitaries including Deputy Presidents of London Thames Maditation Society Mr.Chandra Mendis & Mrs.Srimathi Weeraman. The event attracted over 200 Sri Lankans and expatriates from different ethnic, religious and social groups livening in London. Over 40 children from the Thames Dhamma School participated in a cultural dances and music which illustrated the cultural richness, beauty and the diversity of Sri Lanka. While appreciating the solidarity extended by Sri Lankans with their participation at the National Day Celebration, in his welcome address, Ven Siridhamma Thero also thanked all those who helped to make this event possible including Dhamma School children, their parents, Dhamma School Teachers & Thames Maditation Society. Mr.Gihantha Jayasinghe made a remarkable lecture on the importance of independence and the history of Sri Lanka. Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Hon. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, also issued a message of greetings this time to the London Thames Independence Day. Addressing the gathered audience, The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom H.E. Mrs Wijewardane thanked Venrable maha sangha organising this colourful event and highlighted the importance of celebrating such significant events overseas, helping to further enrich the society by introducing people to Sri Lankan culture and traditions. Mrs Wijewardane specifically acknowledge and appreciated our Dhamma School Children's performance and assured her continued support for the development of our Dhamma School.