07th April 2019 08:05:54 Hours
Spirits of typical National Sinhala-Hindu New Year festival, blended with a rare combination of age-old rites, rituals, customs, festivities and traditions dominated Saturday's (6) 'Sirisara New Year-2019' celebration at Padaviya-Sri Pura, Kolongolla, organized jointly by the Army and 'Wana Aranaka Asiriya' team on a conceptual notion proposed by the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake which also coincided with the commissioning of the Army-renovated state-of-the-art new Kolongolla wewa (tank), dug to collect water for farming purposes.
The entire chain of festivities themed on 'Wana Aranaka Avurudu Udaawa', ably backed by Wanni troops as instructed by Major General Kumudu Perera, Commander, Security Forces - Wanni and all respective formations and units assumed greater significance with the presence of HE the President Maithripala Sirisena as the Chief Guest throughout the day at the invitation of Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army who also took an exceptional interest to meticulously programme the event with all stakeholders in an attractive and colourful manner, intending to stage a rare spectacle to the people in the Wanni.
HE the President was received by the Commander of the Army, together with the Commander, SF-Wanni and Chieftain of the indigenous community, Wannila Eththo and conducted to the main venue, amid reverberating drum beats and scintillating flute playing as crowds lined up to greet the visiting President.
Men and women's marathon across the new Kolongolla tank, organized by Brigadier Dhammika Jayasinghe, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 62 Division set off the itinerary of the proceedings at first with hundreds taking part in the event. As the inaugural ceremony was underway, a group of 100 monks and nuns on canoes led Sinhala and Tamil farmers, members of the Veddah community and ceremonially dressed others towards the new tank, dug by the Army and symbolized the beneficiaries .
As chanting of 'Seth Pirith' of monks and nuns was underway, HE the President unveiled the plaque, 'Sirisara Piwisuma' that narrates the historic saga of the tank as well as the Army's contribution to its revival by completely digging and renovating it within a very short period as part of the Army's 500 tank renovation and construction commitment. Seconds after unveiling was performed, a group of farmers symbolically presented samples of new harvest to the President. After a symbolic ritual of collecting the maiden pot of auspicious water from the new tank, monks presented it to Head of the State, the President.
Giving a new dimension that could supplement the village people in this remote area with quality of life, after a while both Commander of the Army and Wannila Aththo released shoals of fish to the new waters while the President was looking on. Next began the traditional Kirikoraha dancing of indigenous community, followed by a variety of folk games, fancy dresses, grease-pole climbing, tug of war balancing games, pot cracking, marathon races, etc which were enthusiastically attended by members of the local community.
Valuable prizes and appreciative tokens were distributed among the achievers in different competitions as dusk enveloped the tank bund and the location.
Mrs Rupawathi Kethiswaran, District Secretary of Mullaittivu, Pujith Jayasundara, Inspector General of Police, government officials and civilians enjoyed events throughout.