If you are planning to visit Sri Lanka in April, be prepared to be a part of Avurudu celebrations wherever you go. The 13th and 14th of April every year is when the Sinhalese and Tamil (constituting majority of the population) celebrates their new year. The 13th of April is the last day of the previous year and 14th is the first day of the new year. In this article, we will brief you in on the celebrations and traditions so you are aware and can make the most of your festive holiday in Sri Lanka!

Amidst a myriad of captivating traditions, delectable traditional sweets and cuisine, and enjoyable activities, this period provides a chance for all Sri Lankans to come together, express gratitude, and celebrate as a unified nation.

The time slot between the ending of the Old Year and the dawning of the New Year is a neutral time for both Sinhalese and Tamil. Here’s what you can expect to see on the 13th and 14th of April, between the two religions – Sinhalese and Tamil.

Sinhalese New Year

According to the Sinhalese, this period is dedicated to the observance and participation in religious ceremonies. Individuals can be observed making their way to their designated temples, dressed in white attire. Buddhist Sri Lankans are advised to abstain from their usual daily routines, focusing instead on religious practices and seeking blessings from priests or monks.

Tamil New Year

The Tamil community marks the New Year, known as Puththandu, by honoring the customs and rituals passed down by their ancestors. While these Tamil traditions differ slightly from those of the Sinhala people, the shared aspiration for a prosperous New Year remains a common thread among everyone. During the auspicious moment, priests in temples prepare Maruthu Neer—a blend of clean water, various herbs, selected flowers and leaves, milk, saffron, and other ingredients. This mixture is applied to the heads of all family members before bathing. New clothes, recommended based on colors mentioned in the almanac, are worn. Additionally, if feasible, a sweet rice dish is prepared using new raw red rice, jaggery, cashew nuts, ghee, and plums.

A visit to the place of worship, as well as visiting relatives and friends are a common and important feature of the New Year celebrations in both religions.

Avurudu games to enjoy during your holiday in Sri Lanka

In addition to the various customs and traditions observed during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations, people from diverse cultures come together to participate in and enjoy a range of games and activities. These New Year games can be broadly classified into indoor and outdoor categories. Indoor games include bello (sea shells) and kaju (cashew nuts).

A distinctive feature of indoor games is that they are typically played sitting on the floor rather than on chairs. During your holiday in Sri Lanka, if you are somewhat close to a village, you will come across some hilarious outdoor New Year games. Do try them yourself! One game requires you to balance a lime on a spoon and the fastest to cross the finish line wins. Another favorite is trying to climb a heavily greased 80foot pole and trying to grab the flag at the top.

For the more adventurous kind, a game involves balancing yourself on a horizontally placed coconut tree trunk and wrestle your opponent with a pillow. The one who loses balance and falls off loses. Games for kids include a sack race where children fit into a big rice bag and hop their way to the finish line.

The significance of these games lies in their ability to engage participants of all ages in friendly competition. Furthermore, when played on a village scale, these games bring the entire neighborhood together, fostering unity and dispelling past misunderstandings. This creates a peaceful and united atmosphere for the New Year celebration within the society.

Popular Avurudu foods to try during your holiday in Sri Lanka

  • Konda Kevum: an oil cake that is prepared with the mixing of treacle and sugar, which are cooked to boiling point. Rice flour and steamed flour is added to the cooled treacle.
  • Mung Kevum: Mung Kavum is a combination of rice flour and green gram flour added to warmed treacle.
  • Kokis: a deep-fried, crispy and sweet snack made from a mixture of rice flour and coconut milk.
  • Asmi: The batter for this sweet is unique. First, milk is added gradually to rice flour, which is constantly kneaded. Once the batter reaches the required consistency, it is ready for frying.
  • Athirasa: an oil cake made with jaggery and rice flour rolled into a paste, flattened into circles and fried.
  • Bibikkan: a rich, dark, chewy and moist cake made of shredded coconut, jaggery and semolina.
  • Aluwa: a sweet made with just two ingredients, rice flour and coconut or palm treacle.
  • Unuduwel: a deep-fried coil of a mixture of Urad dhal and rice flour soaked in sugar syrup.
  • Murukku: Coming in a range of sizes and shapes, murukku is prepared using a variety of flour. The snack can be prepared as a savory or sweet

Being a part of the celebrations

Travel Treasures Sri Lanka can help plan your holiday during the month of April. We tailor to your preferred destinations and your budgetary requirements. During your holiday in Sri Lanka, hotels will undoubtedly serve traditional sweet eats and organize New Year games that you can be a part of and experience the celebration. Don’t miss out – get in touch with us now!