Symbolic New Year (Translated)
If you are curious enough (kind enough ) to read the Sinhala post below you can see that I am trying to give a brief idea of what our New Year has become and what it is going to be in the years to come. I started the post talking about the modern-day shopping culture which has cut its teeth deep into Sri Lankan life (!?!Can you remember?) and in fact we can say that can be considered a cancer which causes a slow death to Sri Lankan art and traditions. Do I seem to be an extremist when I say that? No my friends. We have to speak the truth (What is “THE” truth in a world which is merely a creation of human mind?) However, you will be able to get a reasonably good idea about how good a family economy these days by observing the struggle a middle class family has to go through these days. But the ground reality (if I can call it) doesn’t prove the fact. You will see thousands of men and women on the streets in Maharagama or Nugegoda in the hunt for their Awurudu suits!!! They simply tend to buy what they can’t afford to just because of the New Year feeling which they have been fed with by our loving media partners. You can’t humiliate a poor (definitely not poor at heart) man buying a shirt or a pair of trousers longing for the happiness or smile it would bring to his child. But if you observe carefully, you will find this is not the case with the truck loads of clothes they buy either from No-limit or from Odel.(I am quite new to this so-called Jew Christian ethics and etiquette. So, I didn’t mind giving the names.) So to speak a poor village man is not privileged enough even to go inside of such majestic shopping centers.
Then let’s have some chat on these New Year festivals and all. Actually almost all the functions in Sri Lanka are done just for the sake of doing it these days. Nobody knows the background and even don’t bother about knowing it too. So our New Year festivals too have to face this plight what I can call a “only skin-no fruit” situation. So when only the New Year is around the corner we remember our villages and villagers. Our media partners who takes the pride of being the first not being the best, too hurry themselves marketing New Year knowingly or unknowingly.(I doubt it.)We cannot help them hating (Forgive me if I am too harsh.) but we have to understand that they have no survival in this so-called neo liberal economy if they cannot market their programmes. So, if we apply the same logic to the New Year festivals, they should be marketable if they are to survive in this production distribution culture. So, our village lads who have never put on a sarong participate Awurdu Kumara competitions wearing sarongs only for that day. These Awurudu Kumaras’ kids who only know English rhymes recite Onchili waarams only for that day.Village lasses become Awurudu Kumaries only for that day.( If they are lucky enough they may receive the chance of appearing in two or three cover pages of some sort of magazines.)
However arts and traditions should change. Some may decay in the progress.(we have to admit that English invasion has chipped in with a great contribution to this plight.)But we cannot hate the Englishmen for this. We, as Buddhists are taught of and believe in a world that is merely a creation of human mind. So, one’s good deeds and bad deeds are evaluated according to his own Panchendriyas+Manendriya. But Buddhism doesn’t let the hell (??? I am afraid I have used a common word ,in a context that is not appropriate.)break loose saying that. So, our Buddhist culture has made some precise limits in the way we think of the world. We are no conquerors, and we never have been. But British never had such a culture to mould them, and I feel that there never will be.(I feel that this lecture is going too far and I should wind up somewhere now.) So, my dear friends we have to regain our New Year for us and for the generations to come from these neo-liberal clutches. So, let’s get together in this worthy course. And don’t forget “Celebrate New Year- our way.”