Aluth Avurudu


by Walter Wijenayake.

This is the ‘Aluth Avurudu’ or the New Year season. This age old Sinhala and Hindu New Year or what is sometimes referred to as the Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a time for joy and merriment. It occurs when the sun enters Aries (Mesha) from the sign of Pisces (Meena) in accordance with the astrological calculations every year on April 13 and 14.

This is the major festival in our country where the festive rites have to be observed at prescribed times given by the astrologers. Whatever it is, it is nothing but the spring time in Sri Lanka.

The commencement of this festival marks the conclusion of one year and the beginning of another and the time gap is known as the ‘Nonagathe’ (inauspicious) which is called ‘Punya Kalaya’. It is the duration (the time gap) that everyone is expected to finish up all their normal activities and partake in religious activities.

The beginning of the New Year begins with the lighting of the hearth and the preparation of the first meal followed by ‘ganu denu’ – give and take or exchanging money among close associates, worshiping the elders and giving gifts.

Another important ‘Avurudu’ activity is applying oil on the head. In this event, the father or the elderly member of the family applies the specially prepared ‘nanu’ (a herbal paste) on the head of each member of the family. A common scene in the village is that the chief monk of the temple applies this specially prepared herbal paste on the heads of villagers, who participate in this ritual in the temple.

This is a festival wherein which the whole family - relations and friends – participate. It is not just the start of yet another year for the Sinhalese and Hindus.

It is a time for a fresh start to their lives, with new hopes and aspirations. Further, this festival highlighted by peace, happiness, harmony and understanding, amongst everybody.

In a Hindu home, old feuds are forgotten and families sit together on a common mat or table, and eat together in keeping with the spirit of the occasion.

All the activities connected with ‘Aluth Avuruddha’ are performed by the Sinhala Buddhists as follows:

1. Viewing the moon for the New Year:

For the new lunar year – Friday, April 14.

For the new solar year – Thursday, May 1.

2. Bathing during the old year – Saturday, April 12.

3. Dawn of the New Year:

Monday, April 14 at 7.37 a.m.

4. ‘Punya Kalaya’ or ‘Nonagathe’ (time for religious activities).

‘Punya Kalaya’ extends from Monday, April 14 at 1.13 a.m. to 2.01 p.m.

5. Time for cooking food.

On Monday, April 14, dressed in white, light the hearth at 10.17 a.m. facing South and prepare milk-rice mixed with ‘uk hakuru’.

6. Partaking of meals, making cash gifts and commencement of work.

On Monday April 14 at 11.05 a.m. dressed in white, facing the South, commence work and partake meals.

7. Anointing the head with oil and bathing.

Wednesday, April 16 at 11.16 a.m. facing South, dressed in green, one may commence bathing, having annointed the head with oil and ‘naanu’.

8. Setting out on employment.

On Thursday April 17, dressed in golden

colour facing West, it is suitable for setting out on employment.

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