‘What can we do this avurudu?’
‘Can we visit atthamma and aachchi?’
‘Can we do banis Kaeme tharagaya?’
‘You mean we can’t play avurudu games at all?’
These are the questions that are echoing around our house these days, as children and parents are in lockdown. No matter where you live in the world and what culture you belong to, new year celebrations bring people together, it is a very tactile social occasion that speaks to all our senses. Every household will make a special effort to bring the best food on to the table, wear beautiful new clothes, buy presents, visit each other, laugh and play. It is a time for social engaging where large groups of people spend time with each other. It is the same with the Sinhala and Hindu New Year.
We would see New Year Games celebrated in a large scale where the whole village is brought to one place. There begins the fun. From running around the village, bicycle races, tug-of-war to the heartiest laugh, scraping coconuts and eating banis (sweet tea buns) there is a game for everybody regardless of age, gender and abilities.
But with the reality of COVID19 upon us, this is not for us. Meatless Monday SL understands that food security is a massive problem with livelihoods and personal finances threatened as the demand and supply for basic food widens. The mental and physical wellbeing of the masses are at risk. Most of all, would be its impact on children. Children need activity and interaction to ensure the development of their mental, physical and social skills. What about their spiritual needs? Have we addressed them?
Do we shield them from the realities or do we tell them as gently as possible about what is going on? Should this be a learning curve for us all to show them that our choices matter, that we should reassemble our priorities, make them understand that we hold a temporary lease on Earth and we need to comply with nature, be kind to one another and all the other beings in this world?
But most of all how do we work around this situation?
No matter what are difficulties are, let us gather them together and tell them real stories. Tell them the need to appreciate the simple things in life. Maybe could use this time to learn and embrace empathy, sympathy, rest and self-reflection.
We might not be able to have the best new year food, clothes and entertainment, but we can tell them that we have each other. Celebrate today as a family and we believe that the new year or avurudu as we say can bring us the hope and much needed mental boost we need.
No matter what you can put on the table, eat with love and laughter. Then, spend time with each other. Have avurudu games at home and give some fun memories to your children and some live entertainment to your neighbours. Who knows we may come up with some brand new avurudu games – social distancing style!
We don’t have many pics but we hope these will bring a smile to your faces!!!
- Paan kamey tharagaya (Bread eating contest)
- Lokuma bada (largest tummy)
- Gedara watey diveema (running around the house)
- Lissana gahey nageema (climbing a grease pole)
- Aliyata as thabeema (The Sri Lankan version of pin the tail)
- Kamba adeema (Tug of war) We had no rope…. So we used our clothes line
- Balum pipiraweema (balloon popping game)
- Kotta pora (pillow fight)
- Lime and spoon race
- Kanaa muttiya
- Loudest laugh –
- Scraping coconuts
keep that distance, but all is not lost. Let that indomitable human spirit fly high. Let us give that strength to our children so that they make the right choices that is good for themselves, their community, the environment they live in and to the world.
Have a safe and blessed new year!!