Celebrating Avurudhu in Canada

Sri Lankan communities celebrated the Sinhala and Tamil New year on April 19 at the Vrittania Park, in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.
W. J. S. Karunaratne, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Canada, Senator MacHarb, Paul Dewar, Member of Parliament of Canada representing Ottawa Central, and George Grande, Co-Chair of the Canadian Friends of Sri Lanka Group, were among the distinguished guests who attended.

A large number of Canadians of Sri Lankan origin representing all ethnic groups of Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Malay and Burgher communities were seen celebrating the New Year. The highlight of the celebration was the cultural show, in which the children of Sinhala and Tamil families living in Ottawa performed traditional dances in addition to participating in dramatic rituals and traditions.

The High Commissioner and the other speakers focused their New Year Messages on reconciliation, unity and harmony among the various ethnic groups in Sri Lanka and wished prosperity and peace for the people of Sri Lanka. The event was organised by the Sri Lanka Canada Association of Ottawa. Susantha Mohottaala, the President of the Association also addressed the audience. Stephen Harper MP, Prime Minister of Canada, in his message commended the Sri Lanka – Canada Association of Ottawa for their efforts in organising this special celebration and for their continued commitment to fostering unity within the community.


Sri Lankans in Beijing celebrate Avurudhu

Sri Lankans living in Beijing and neighbouring provinces, totalling around 200, rallied round the newly formed Sri Lankan Association to celebrate Sinhala / Hindu New Year last Sunday (April 20) at the Sri Lanka Embassy premises. Foreign diplomats of Asian countries, Chinese officials who served in Sri Lanka and Chinese friends of the community also joined in to celebrate this event.

The celebrations began with the singing of the national anthem and lighting of oil lamp by special invitees. Traditional New Year rituals were performed and kiribath and sweetmeats were served. The New Year Message of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was read in all three languages. The entire programme was conducted in four languages, (Sinhala, Tamil, English and Chinese). Traditional customs, games coupled with viridu, cultural items performed by the children etc., added colour to the event.


The Prophet Day – public function

The Prophet Day (Seerathun Nabi) meeting organised by the Sri Lanka Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at will be held at Ahmadiyya Jubilee Hall, Periyamulla, Negombo today (April 27) at 4 P.M. The key-note address will be delivered by Moulavi A.B. Musthaq Ahmad on the topic ‘Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) – an Ideal Model for Mankind.’


Galadari Hotel welcomes Stefan Pfeiffer

Galadari Hotel was delighted to welcome one of its VVIP guests, Stefan Pfeiffer, pioneer General Manager of the former Galadari Meridian Hotel and the Lanka Oberoi. Pfeiffer arrived in Sri Lanka to attend the ex-Oberoi Employees Get Together 2008, which was held at the Galadari Hotel last Saturday. Pictured is Pfeiffer being welcomed by General Manager, Galadari Hotel, Sampath Siriwardena


Sri Lanka Tourism to participate at the 14th ATM in Dubai

Sri Lanka Tourism delegates headed by the Deputy Minister of Sri Lanka Tourism, Faiszer Musthapha, will set off for Dubai on May 6, to attend the 14th annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM 2008) held at the International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

The ATM is the industry’s leading travel and tourism exhibition dedicated to unlocking business potential within the Middle Eastern and Pan Arab regions.
Sri Lanka Tourism, attending the event for the fifth consecutive year, will participate in the intensive meetings, seminars, press conferences and social networking opportunities along with key market players from six continents.

The theme of the Sri Lankan stall this year will be ‘Ceylon Tea.’ The stall will also display gems and jewellery and demonstrations of handicraft making. The highlight of the exhibition will be the performance of Channa’s dance troupe.

A tactical promotional offer ‘Middle East Kids Go Free’ by SriLankan Airlines (for every adult ticket purchased, one child will be offered a free flight) will also be launched.

Having seen the potential of the market, Sri Lanka Tourism will open the Tourism Promotion Office in Dubai next month with an officer in-charge for the Middle East region. Beginning of this year, Sri Lanka Tourism tied up with Al Jazeera TV channel to promote the destination.

The outbound tourist from the Mid East region has increased for the last few years. The highest performer between January and March this year was the Middle East, which registered an increase of 80.6% in comparison with 2007.

Of the 294.6% growth from the region in March this year, Iranian tourists formed the major portion with arrivals of 1,300 during the month. These arrivals were the result of the operation of nine charter flights supported by Sri Lanka Tourism.


President meets Bahrain Minister

President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his meeting with the Bahrain State Labour Minister, Dr. Majeed Bin Mohiseen Al Alavi


Islamic conference of Shazuliyya Tharikka

The Islamic conference of Shazuliyya Tharikka is scheduled from May 2 to 4, at Ummu Zaviya, Colombo.
Here, President of Ummu Zavia Al Haj Macky Hashim is pictured addressing the press conference held at Holiday Inn Hotel, Colombo. Chief Imam of the Zaviya Kaleefa Moulavi, Abdul Hameed Bahji and Chinafort Mosque Federation Secretary, Al Haj A.A.M Saheed are also in the picture.


Painting Installation

Painting Installation, Video Art, an exhibition organised by the Visual Arts and Design and Performing Arts Unit, University of Kelaniya will be held until May 4, at the Barefoot Gallery, 704, Galle Road, Colombo 3.


Presenting Kassapa in a new light

Kassapa’s Homage to Beauty, the latest book by Siri Gunasinghe, presents Kassapa in an entirely new light as a help to his father in administration and questions the widespread view that he murdered his father.

Prof. Gunasinghe, a Sanskrit scholar and the well-known authority on history of art who pioneered study of the temple murals, is a writer who broke new ground in poetry and fiction and directed the award winning movie Sath Samudura. His book on Sigiriya will be launched on Monday, April 28, at the National Library Services and Documentation Board (NLSDB), 14, Independence Avenue, Colombo 7. The book is published by Vijitha Yapa Publications.

The author Siri Gunasinghe, Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria, Canada is a B.A. University of Ceylon, Docteur d’Universite de Paris, D Litt (Peradeniya), D Litt (Jayewardenepura). He is the author of a number of publications on history of Buddhist Art of Sri Lanka and India. He divides his time between Canada and Sri Lanka.

The book advances some innovative insights on Sigiriya that challenges many existing interpretations of well-known authorities. Sigiriya, the palace in the sky of King Kassapa I (5th Century) is widely regarded as a magnificent architectural and garden complex found anywhere in the civilised world. UNESCO accorded it World Heritage status. This fascinating royal residence has been thought of as a fortress providing Kassapa refuge from his vengeful brother.

Kassapa was a family man whose love for his two daughters was so much as to name the famous Isurumuniya and other monasteries after himself and the daughters. The book characterises Kassapa above all as the greatest known royal aesthete of ancient Lanka.

Notwithstanding the Mahavamsa and other authorities, Siri Gunasinghe argues that Sigiriya has to be viewed as Kassapa’s place of pleasure where he sojourned from time to time. It is also the author’s considered view that the Sigiri paintings are not imitations of the Ajanta murals.

The 24 pages of colour photographs are by Vijitha and Lalana Yapa, whose photographs have appeared in many prestigious publications including the Far Eastern Economic Review, International Herald Tribune, Financial Times UK and Gulf News Dubai.


Kshenuka Senewiratne felicitated

The Sri Lankan community organisations in the UK under the direction of the Sri Lanka Educational, Cultural and Welfare Foundation felicitated High Commissioner Kshenuka Senewiratne with the award of the title ‘Deshabhimani Seva Bhusana’ on the completion of her tour of duty as High Commissioner in the UK. The award was conferred on the occasion of the Sri Lanka New Year celebration attended by over 5,000 members of the Sri Lankan diaspora.

The award was presented to the High Commissioner by the Ven Galayaye Piyadassi Maha Thero, Chief Sangha Nayake of Great Britain in the presence of Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services. Several British Parliamentarians including the Mayors of the Boroughs of Harrow, Brent and Barnet also graced the occasion.


                                                               April 27 – May 4                                                                 


May 2 to 21
Research and Sustainable Development, an exhibition of posters, at the Alliance Française Auditorium, 11, Barnes Place, Colombo 7.

Until May 30
Introspection, an exhibition of paintings by Anitha Haputhanthri, at the German Cultural Centre, 39, Gregory’s Road, Colombo 7.


April 28
A documentary on Bismillah Khan by Juhi Sinha, at the Indian Cultural Centre, 133, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 4.

Tuesday, April 29 & 30

Délits Flagrants by Raymond Depardon (109 minutes, 1994, at 3 p.m. / 6.30 p.m. in French with English Subtitles, at the Auditorium de l’Alliance Française, 11, Barnes
Place, Colombo 7.

April 29
The Simpsons Movie, (87 minutes, 2007), at 6 p.m., at the American Centre, 44, Galle Road, Colombo 3.