Leeds New Year Celebrations 2019 - ලීඩ්ස් බක්මහ උළෙල 2019
The Leeds New Year Celebrations organised by Leeds Buddhist Vihara was held on the 13th of April 2019 at Woodside Grove Academy, Apperley Bridge, Bradford amidst a large gathering of the Sri Lankan community in the North of England.
The theme of the event was “kamatha”, loosely translated as a paddy field after the rice has been harvested. The traditional implements that are used in a kamatha were visible on the stage in front of a backdrop that was the scene from a kamatha. This added a touch of authenticity to the proceedings.
The gathering was treated to a traditional Awurudu Table that was open to all. It included the staples at Sri Lankan New Year celebrations such as kiribath, kavum, kokis, aasmi, mung kevum and peni walalu.
The event opened with the lighting of traditional oil lamp by Most Venerable Pidiville Piyatissa Maha Thero, Venerable Galpottayaye Pemananda Thero, followed by venerable Kaluaggala Saranasiri Thero and other distinguished guests. In welcoming all to the event, Most Venerable Pidiville Piyatissa Maha Thero reiterated the importance of everyone working together for the benefit of our community.
The traditional Sinhala New Year customs were enacted by a family from Leeds. The traditions were explained in both Sinhala and English for the benefit of children. Afterwards, the audience was treated to raban pada from both adults and children. The children in particular enjoyed playing a rabana for the first time.
The show-piece of the event was the amazingly vibrant and colourful cultural show that was performed by the children of Leeds and Middlesborough Dhamma Schools. These included traditional dances, songs and enactments of popular children’s songs. The children were dressed in elaborate, traditional costumes that were designed and made by some of the parents of the two Dhamma Schools.
A highlight of this segment was the performance of a traditional Kandyan dance to the beat of drums that was performed by a group of professional dancers. Not many people living in the UK are fortunate enough to witness such a performance and we are indebted to this troupe for their travelling a long distance to perform at this event.
All the children who took part in the cultural show were given presents.
Children and adults alike took part in traditional games such as drawing an eye on the elephant, lime and spoon race, tug of war, scraping coconuts, weaving coconut leaves, musical chairs etc. The games proved to be very popular amongst children and adults alike and everyone took part in at least one game. Presents were distributed to the winners.
At the end of the event, a delicious Sri Lankan buffet lunch was served to all who attended.