By Umer Nangiana
Sri Lankan expatriates are all set to welcome the dawn of Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Bakmaha Ulela 2016, in traditional style. The grand celebrations, featuring multiple recreational activities attracting a large number of community members, are organised by Sri Lankan Coordinating Committee (SLCC) under the patronage of Sri Lankan embassy in Qatar.
Bakmaha Ulela or the New Year marks the harvest of a year’s hard work, ploughing of fields for a new crop to bring prosperity and growth.
The Sri Lankan community in Qatar will celebrate the event at Al Sadd Sports Club on Friday, April 15. The festivities would start early in the morning at 7am with the chief guest, Sri Lankan ambassador Dr W M Karunadasa, lighting the traditional lamp.
“This year we are also holding for the first time ‘Miss Sri Lanka Competition’ here in Doha. All the participants are from the local Sri Lankan expatriate community and they have already been initiated into the competition,” Tenisan De Silva, the President of SLCC, told Community. The competition will be held around 1:30pm.
The SLCC president said there are more than 1,20,000 Sri Lankans living in Qatar and that they are expecting more than 20,000 Lankan expatriates to join the celebrations on Friday. The entry is free for everyone and the SLCC has made arrangements to serve all the participants with traditional Sri Lankan breakfast at the opening of the event.
As per the tradition, the programme will begin with children, dressed in traditional attire, welcoming the chief guest followed by the hoisting of the national flags of Qatar and Sri Lanka, with national anthems of the two countries playing in the background.
The drummers dressed in traditional attire will entertain the audience with their music.
The activities would continue till evening and will close at 5:30pm. Like in the past, the organising committee has lined up many traditional and sports events for the participation of community members for which they will have to register. Registrations will start at 7am with the opening of the event.
The activities, open to all for participation, include pillow fight, volleyball, tug-o-war (male and female), 100m race (male and female), breaking the pot (male and female), fancy dress (open), fancy dress (children), Jana Kavi (open), Raban (open), Pol Gahama (female), Digama Kondey (female), Elephant eye (open), bursting the balloon (children under 10 years), Singithi Avurudu Kumari (children) and Avurudu Kumariya (18-30 years). The attire for the Avurudu Kumariya event will be the osariya saree or cloth and jacket.
Popular actresses Umayangana Wickramasingha and Lanka Kariyawasam together with actor Sando Harris are being flown in from Sri Lanka for the celebrations.
Umayangana primarily appears in films and television series. She began her career as a news presenter for Derana TV. Her first appearance as an actress was in the television drama Katu Imbula.
She went to appear in many Sri Lankan television series, including Sundarai Premaya and Ithin Ita Passe. In 2010, she won the Most Popular Tele Drama Actress award at the Sumathi award ceremony.
Sando Harris entered Sinhala cinema with the movie Jayashakthi. He also became popular as a fight director. Later on, he took the mantle of a comedian and diversified his career by doing funny roles.
The Doha-based Sri Lankan band Shayara will perform at the celebrations. Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation will record the event and telecast same in Sri Lanka at a later date.
Sri Lanka Quantity Surveyors Qatar, Sri Lankan Sports Club Doha, Sri Lankan Friends Club, Sri Lions Doha, Lanka Lions Doha, St. Sylvester’s College Kandy OBA Qatar, Old Anandians in Doha and National Savings Bank, Sri Lanka will be coordinating the many events.
The Sri Lankan Community Benevolent Fund (SLCBF) will operate a food stall at the venue the proceeds of which will go towards helping the needy in our community. Traditional breakfast sponsored by hotels in Doha will be served by Lanka Lions.
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