07th April 2017 14:49:21 Hours
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year festive season across the country made its entry into the Colombo Malay cricket club grounds Friday (07) morning when hundreds of Officers and Other Ranks of the Army Headquarters, joined hands together to celebrate the ‘Soorya Mangallaya’, the annual auspicious event, giving pride of place to traditional New Year games and other associated fun-making events.
Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crisanthe 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 Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Officers took time off to attend it and enjoy the day’s celebration, ‘Soorya Mangallaya 2017’ with enthusiasm.
The day’s ceremony kicked off as reverberating rhythms of ‘Magul Bera’ (auspicious drums), flanked by a group of village lads and lasses, clad in New Year garbs 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 Deputy Chief of Staff respectively took place. 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.
As has been the practice, a 2-minute silence by all attendees recalled the memory of fallen War Heroes before the traditional oil lamp lighting got underway with the participation of the Chief Guest and a representative gathering of all wings in the Army.
The chain of collective events began to get off the ground soon after separate organizers gathered at specific places to flag off each event. 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 after the Chief Guest’s arrival.
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, tracing of hidden guest, hurdle runs, drinking milk through soother, cadjan weaving, lime balancing, tug-of-war, musical chairs, fancy dresses, counting of papaya seeds, peni walalu contest, needle and thread, etc, dominated the day’s agenda in the Army, ‘Soorya Mangalya 2017’.
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, dressed in New Year clothes.
A few features, presented by wheelchair-riding disabled War Heroes and other physically handicapped War Heroes were among the day’s highlights.
Lieutenant General Crisanthe 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. He also took time off to go round the ground and speak to all Army personnel participating in various contests.
Officers, 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.