According to traditional astrology, Sri Lankans used to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year annually. Usually, Sri Lankans celebrate the New Year on the 25th of April each year at the Sanath Jayasuriya ground with immense glamour and grandeur.
This mega event was fabulously organised by the Students Association of the Matara Branch of the Java Institute for Advanced Technology with an enormous series of national events and traditional games filled with fun and frolic to the brim.
A musical entertainment where the youth had immense enjoyment that included dancing was also a highlight of the event. The festival began with the lightning of oil lamps by the Director of the Java Institute for Advanced Technology, Dr. Ishantha Siribaddana, and other lecturers as well as by representatives of the Students Association. The New Year Festival was lined up with more than twenty traditional games in which almost all participants took part in to make the event thrilling and exciting.
Cross-country race, climbing the grease pole, smashing pots blindfolded (kana muttiya bideema), marking elephants eye, finding the lost coin in troubled waters, musical chairs, gunny bag races, bun eating race, balloon dance, kotta pora alleema which means beating each other with hard pillows, seated astride on a horizontally elevated bar up from the ground, thun pa divima a type of race run in pairs, ankles bound, carrying limes on spoons, stringing needle eyes, feeding curd to the blindfold, known as andayata kiri kavima, and tug of war, were just some of the items out of whole cloth to mention. All these indigenous games have been a part of Sinhala Hindu New Year Festivals since ancient times in Sri Lanka.
All the staff members and students extended their fullest cooperation, while some presented themselves as panel members, providing impartial judgments on each competitive event. The fellowship New Year buffet was a sign of unity and solidarity of all members belonging to the Java Institute. The Avurudu table comprised a number of sweet items including Kiribath (milk rice), and it was a major decorative part of the new year festival as well. Among the sweet items of the Avurudu table Konda Kevum, Kokis, Asmee, Mun Kevum and Athirasa are prominent. In addition to that, it observed that there are sweet items which are particular to Southern Province such as; Kalu Dodol, Mungedi and Naran kevum. Once the Avurudu table was prepared in accordance with the rituals, the food items were consumed by the senior students at the relevant auspicious time.
The prize giving was held towards the end of the event where the winners of each item were given prizes. The Sinhala Hindu New Year Festival was held under the patronage of Dr. Ishantha Siribaddana, Director of Java Institute. The main objective of this festival was to enhance the bonds of friendship between past and present students, to develop the talents of them, increasing the team working ability, and to establish a platform that can be used to minimise the stress of studies.