I’m extremely appreciative of the long weekend as a result of the New Year holidays falling on a Friday which is why I made a beeline for the beach. As this was my first Sinhalese New Year in Sri Lanka after over a decade, I took this opportunity to learn a little more about the customs of the season.
It all starts on New Year’s Eve and that fell on Friday, April 13, 2018. That day was a public and bank holiday with many businesses, retailers, and restaurants closed. Families will go into hyper cleaning mode to make sure everything from their homes, vehicles, and businesses are spotless in preparation for the new year.
New Year’s Day immediately follows the next day with a set of auspicious times determined by astrologers:
New Year’s day dawns at 8:13 am
Boiling milk in a clay pot at 10:40 am
Commencing of transactions and eating your first meal at 11:53 am
The boiling of the milk is a very important ritual in Sinhalese culture and is usually presided over by the lady of the household who will construct a hearth in the living room that faces a direction pre-determined by astrologers.
The ceremony concludes once the milk (either coconut or milk) boils over.