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Sri Lanka High Commission in London celebrates Vesak

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The High Commission of Sri Lanka in London held annual Vesak celebrations from 26-30 May 2021 at the High Commission premises while observing the UK Government’s Covid-19 guidelines.

The celebrations began with a ceremony on 26 May 2021 with the attendance of the Maha Sangha, Members of Houses of Parliament, the diplomatic corps and members of British Sri Lankan community.

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Welcoming the invitees, High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena highlighted the significance of Vesak, one of Sri Lankan’s most celebrated festivals and the most colourful one. She added that given the timing of the festival which is in the middle of the UK’s school year means that most British Sri Lankans have not had the opportunity to witness the beauty, warmth and camaraderie that Vesak brings which is very much a part of our society. It is with this in mind, the High commission made efforts to creating a glimpse of Sri Lanka’s beloved festival even in a modest way as soon as the Covid-19 regulations permitted.

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stated that he was delighted to experience the Vesak celebrations and warmth of Sri Lanka. He added that celebration of Vesak brings light and harmony that we all desire for everyone during the pandemic.

Delivering the Anusasana, the Chief Incumbent of the London Buddhist Vihara and the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain, the Most Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero stated that Buddhism is humanism, and it focuses on all human problems. He added that the Buddha’s middle path consists of exercising of morality, concentration and wisdom which are all conducive for the spiritual progress of the individual and all lead to cessation of suffering and finally the attainment of enlightenment. The Ven. Thero invoked blessings on the world to be free from the pandemic.

With the intention of showcasing the spirit of Vesak as celebrated on the streets of Sri Lanka, a Vesak Kalapaya was organised at the High Commission premises. The Vesak decorations were inaugurated by Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon and The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. Members of the Sri Lankan community as well as British nationals visited the Vesak Kalapaya to witness decorations which included a huge lantern and a pandal. The visitors were also able to enjoy local street food at the Dansala. The Bhakthi Geetha sung by the staff of the High Commission added to the Sri Lankan spirit of celebrating Vesak. The Vesak Kalapaya which lasted from 26-30 May was attended by over 200 visitors in time bound sessions adhering to social distancing rules in the UK.

High Commission of Sri Lanka, London

The Chief Guest Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

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