11th April 2023 11:12:10 Hours
Bringing the annual Sinhala and Tamil New Year spirits into the country’s largest service provider, the Sri Lanka Army, hundreds of Army personnel serving the Army Headquarters at Sri Jayawardenepura on Monday (10 April) joined hands together with one another and enjoyed typical festivities and traditional games during a New Year festival at Panagoda Army Cantonment.
Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage RWP RSP ndu, Commander of the Army attaching importance to the customary feature graced the occasion as the Chief Guest, together with Mrs. Janaki Liyanage, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit (ASVU) and a host of Officers.
Both of them were welcomed by Major General C.D Weerasuriya RWP RSP ndu, Chief of Staff, Major General D.G.S Senarath Yapa RWP RSP ndu, Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General W.A.S.S Wanasinghe RSP VSV USP ndu, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, Major General D.M.K.D.B Pussella RWP RSP, Commander, Security Forces-West, Major General M.G.W.W.W.M.C.B Wickramasinghe RWP RSP ndu psc, Adjutant General of the Army and subsequently conducted to the festival venue in a procession.
The day’s proceedings got to start by hoisting the National flag and the Army flag by Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage RWP RSP ndu, Commander of the Army and Major General C.D Weerasuriya RWP RSP ndu, Chief of Staff respectively. The typical gesture in all Army events, the one-minute silence in memory of all fallen War Heroes was then observed before the recital of the National anthem and the Army song which rent the air.
Hundreds of energetic Army personnel while enthusiastically giving meaning to the freshness of the whole phenomenon then began to contribute to a variety of traditional rites and rituals, fun-making and culturally-rich games and competitions such as tug of war, pillow fighting, grease pole climbing, bun eating, counting of papaya seeds, dotting the elephant’s eye, pot crashing, selection of New Year prince and princess, cadjan-weaving, marathon races, fancy dress parades, obstacle races, slow cycling, raban-playing, etc.
The multitude of New Year features were afterwards joined by Senior Officers, Officers, ASVU members, Other Ranks, invitees and members of the civil staff adding fun and amusement to the day’s chain of events.
In addition, several modal structures that remind of rural settings such as ‘Gemi Gedara’ crafted by soldiers were also in place as attractive spectacles in the ground. Further, the Commander of the Army had a close interaction with the soldiers during the events.
Not forgetful of the heroic contribution of permanently-wounded war heroes, a group of invitees from the ‘Mihindu Seth Medura’, Ragama ‘Ranaviru Sevana’ and ‘Abhimansala’ wellness resorts were also awarded special gifts and dry ration packs on the same occasion on account of the New Year. The Army Chief and Mrs. Janaki Liyanage joined distributing those incentives.
At the end of the day's event, Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage RWP RSP ndu, Commander of the Army, together with Mrs. Janaki Liyanage, President of ASVU, Major General C.D Weerasuriya RWP RSP ndu, Chief of Staff, Major General D.G.S Senarath Yapa RWP RSP ndu, Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General W.A.S.S Wanasinghe RSP VSV USP ndu, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force and several Senior Officers gave away gifts and trophies to the winners in different events and competitions.