Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Culture
21-09-2023 4.890 Views
POPULATION :
 

  • Sinhala (75%)
  • Tamil (15%) in the North (Indigenous or southern Indian)
  • Moorish (7%) on the coast (former Arab traders. Name given in reference to the Moors of Andalusia)
RELIGION :
  • Theravada Buddhism (70%).
  • Hinduism (12%) among Tamils.
  • Sunni Islam (8%) among Moors.
  • Catholic Christianity (6%) related to colonization.
CUSTOMS :
  • Religion is very important in Sri Lanka, especially for Buddhists. Sri Lanka is dotted with holy places, temples and ruins (for example, the city of Anuradhapura is a high place of pilgrimage).
  • You should never turn your back on a statue of Buddha.
  • Never point a finger at a statue of Buddha.
  • As Sri Lankans are very modest, try to dress accordingly. In holy places: no shoes or headgear, leg and shoulder covered. There is also a color code depending on the religion: white for Buddhism and black for Hinduism each representing purity.
  • Like the Indians, the Sri Lankans are nodding to make a statement. Indeed, unlike us, swinging his head from right to left means “yes”.
SOME IMPORTANT FESTIVITIES :
 
  • Poya is the name given to the full moon day in Sri Lanka and more globally in Southeast Asia. In the Buddhist religion, this day corresponds to an event of Buddha’s life. A Poya Day, or “Moon Festival”, is a Sri Lankan holiday that takes place every full moon, about once a month. We can then attend the closing of the shops and banks since prayer at the temple is recommended. In addition, Buddhism strongly encourages people to neither eat meat nor drink alcohol. We then make moon cakes based on lotus seeds and eggs that we will offer. Each Poya is unique and is commemorated for a specific reason.
  • Among Buddhists, the first full moon of the new year, following the lunar calendar, is named Vesak Poya, the most important of all lunar festivals, celebrating the birthday of Buddha. It is on this day that Buddha was born, on this day that Buddha found enlightenment and also on this day that he died. It is therefore a religious festival coupled with a festival, called festival of lights. Thus, you will have the opportunity to see the city decorated with many paper lanterns, the temples are full of faithful and food is distributed to passers-by.
  • The Perahero Poya or “Tooth Feast” is a unique religious feast in Kandy, the religious capital of Sri Lanka. Indeed, the city where the «tooth» of Buddha is located sets up, every year between July and August a procession of elephants as well as dancers through the city, at night, And that, every evening for 10 days. The aim is to pay homage to the relic and the Buddha.
  • Shivaratri is a Hindu religious feast in honor of the marriage between the god of destruction Shiva and Parvati. It consists of prayer, meditation, fasting, singing and dancing in honor of the god. During this feast, it is necessary to be able to show virtues such as honesty or temperance, to forgive and not to hurt others. With a little luck, you can watch one of the statues being soaked in milk and honey before being painted red, representing purity.
  • As Vesak is the festival of lights among Buddhists, Diwali is in the Hindu world. Thus, this religious feast observed between September and October according to the Christian calendar celebrates the victory of Rama over Ravana: «The victory of good over evil, of light over darkness, of knowledge over ignorance». It is a very popular Hindu festival that is celebrated all over the country and lasts 5 days during which we will light candles, decorate the houses with lights and garlands, fire fireworks as well as offer gifts. The faithful practice cleansing rituals, while members of other denominations are also invited to participate in the festivities.
THE FOOD :

Sri Lankans eat mostly rice and curry. It’s not just chicken. Indeed, it can very well be made with fish, vegetables or fruit.

The Sri Lankan cuisine is known to be the most spicy in the world due to the high use of peppers. But luckily for travellers, the peppers are always “separate”, so they can be avoided.

Sri Lanka is also known as the country of origin for so-called “real” cinnamon and is the largest exporter.

He is also the 4th tea producer in the world. It is therefore possible to walk and admire beautiful green tea fields on the hillsides.

Here are some Sri Lankan specialties :

  • Mets : : rice and curry very often accompanied by sambals (pepper condiment).
  • Roti: traditional flat bread made from wheat flour.
  • Kottu Roti: mix of sautéed vegetables and bread (roti). You can add eggs, meat or even cheese.
  • Appa: crepe of fermented rice flour and coconut milk with spices. Variants can be found with eggs or milk.
  • Kiribath: rice cooked in salted coconut milk. More often prepared for special occasions such as birthdays or religious holidays.
  • Lamprais: rice, fricadelles (meatball), meat and eggplant curry and chilli, all in a banana leaf and baked. This dish comes from the influence of European settlers. It is more often prepared for large meals because of its rather long preparation time.
  • Kool: seafood broth such as crab, fish, cuttlefish, shrimp or crayfish. Then add beans, cassava and spinach.
  • Kokis: Fried cake made with rice flour and coconut milk.
  • Kiri Toffee: caramel made of condensed milk sweetened with cinnamon.
  • Kalu Dodol: caramel made from coconut milk, rice flour and sugar.
  • Pushnambu: cake made with wheat flour, coconut milk and cinnamon.
  • Faluda: mix of rose syrup, basil seed, milk, ice and pieces of jelly.
  • Toddy: alcohol based on palm sap.
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