12th April 2016 21:09:53 Hours
The traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year festive season across the country made its entry into the Colombo Malay Cricket Club grounds Tuesday (12) morning when hundreds of officers and soldiers of the Army Headquarters, joined hands together with one another to celebrate the auspicious event, giving prominence to the traditional New Year games and other associated fun-making and sports events.
Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva as the Chief Guest, together with Mrs Nayana De Silva, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit and a host of other senior officers, including the Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force Commandant, Commanders of Security Forces, took time off to inaugurate and enjoy the day’s celebration, ‘Soorya Mangalya 2016’.
The day’s ceremony kicked off as reverberating rhythms of ‘Magul Bera’ (auspicious drums) flanked by Kandyan dancers heralded the arrival of the day’s Chief Guest to be welcomed by senior officers before hoisting of the national flag and the Army flag by the Commander of the Army and the Chief of Staff respectively. The occasion turned more dignified afterwards as everybody rose to their feet to recite the National Anthem and the Army song in turn, marking the formal commencement of the day’s event. A 2-minute silence by all attendees commemorated the memory of fallen War Heroes before the chain of collective events got underway with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the Chief Guest and a representative gathering of all wings in the Army.
A cross country marathon run that took place early in the morning was competed by hundreds of all ranks serving the Army Headquarters before the main ceremony got off the ground. Traditional and merry-making games and collective competitions, such as Raban playing, gunny bag races, eye-placing on the elephant, grease-pole climbing, pot cracking, bun-eating, pillow fighting, finding of hidden guest, hurdle runs, drinking milk through soother, cadjan weaving, lime balancing, tug-of-war, musical chairs, fancy dresses, selection of New Year prince and princess, etc, dominated the day’s agenda in the Army, ‘Soorya Mangalya 2016’.
The model, ‘Gemi Gedara’ (typical village house) in the premises with its elegantly-clad occupants symbolized the rites and rituals, associated with the tea table, filled with traditional sweetmeats and attracted spectators as the surroundings in the ‘Gemi Gedara’ were coloured by typical villagers and beautiful damsels.
Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Mrs Nayana De Silva, accompanied by several senior officers afterwards spent a few minutes in the typical model house and shared refreshments with them.
Major General Milinda Peiris, Chief of Staff, Major General Sumedha Perera, Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Channa Goonetilleke, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, senior officers at the Army Headquarters, several ASVU executive members, other ranks, invitees and members of the civil staff witnessed the sequence of events in the arrangement with joy and amusement.
A mini music entertainment coloured by Army Ranaviru Real Star participants added musicality to the flow of the event.
Towards the end of the day’s programme, the Commander of the Army gave away gifts to the achievers in various games and competitions.