Get Your Auspicious Times Straight this Avurudhu.

By Janani Vithanage

With the chaotic situation prevalent in Sri Lanka right now, it can be easy to forget that the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, a very important festival for many of us, is just round the corner. The sound of the cuckoo’s sweet trills, the aroma of sweetmeats being brought onto the shelves at bakeries around the country and the blooming of the fiery red Erabadu flowers are all going unnoticed. However, it is important to realise that while we take to the streets to voice our disent and generate awareness on social media platforms, another way we can show our perpetrators that the spirits of the common people of Sri Lanka remain forever strong is by celebrating this New Year as never before. Faithfully keeping to our age-old Avuruddhu traditions is just one more way in which we can show our motherland the love and respect we bear for her and all her people. To ensure that you don’t miss any of these special moments, we’ve compiled a list of auspicious times.

1. Punya Kaalaya

Date: 14th of April

Time: 02:17am to 03:05am

“Punya Kalaya”, or “nonagatheh” which translates into “inauspicious time” is when all business and work-related activities are halted. Instead, people are encouraged to engage in religious and spiritual activities like praying at home or visiting a temple or Kovil. 

2. Dawn of the New Year

Date: 14th of April

Time: 08:41am 

This is the time at which the new year officially begins. The new year is often heralded in by the lighting of firecrackers. This is said to ward off evil spirits and symbolizes good luck throughout the year. 

3. Lighting of the Hearth

Date: 14th April

Time: 09:05am

Colour: Gold 

Direction: East

 Colloquially known as the boiling of milk, this is perhaps the most important and widely practiced New Year tradition. Usually carried out in the center of the home by the lady of the house, in a new clay pot bought especially for this purpose, over a fire made of brick and firewood, the lighting of the hearth is very significant. Milk is always associated with prosperity and abundance, features further highlighted by the fact that the milk overflows over the sides of the pot when boiling. In fact, it is common to include the phrase “kiri ithirewa” (may the milk overflow in abundance) when greeting each other as the New Year dawns, as an indication that you wish the person success and plenty. 

4. Commencing work, exchanging gifts and partaking in a meal

Date: 14th April

Time: 10:17am

Colour: Gold

Direction: East

This signals that the inauspicious time has concluded and one may once again carry out one’s day to day activities. It is also the time for giving and receiving gifts. This is mainly in the form of the elders of a family presenting younger members, especially children, with money. This gesture is believed to bestow wealth and material success throughout the year to come. Next comes what is for many, the most exciting part of the day; the consumption of the various sweetmeats and treats that were prepared or bought in the days leading to the New Year. Very few are immune to the milky taste of the decadent squares of “kiribath” (milk rice), served alongside spicy “lunumiris”, a dish made by grinding together onion and chilli, nor can many resist delicacies such as crunchy “kokis” (a deep-fried concoction of rice flour and coconut milk), the rich flavour of “konda kavum” (yet another deep-fried sweet made of rice flour and kithul jaggery) or the kithul honey ensconced wonder of “pani walalu”, a must-have made of split black gram paste, deep-fried and coaxed into an intriguing spiral shape. 

5. Anointing of Oil

Date: 17th April

Time: 07:04am

Colour: Red and Yellow

Direction: South

The oil used for this purpose is an infusion of many different herbs that have special medicinal properties. This tradition is most often carried out by religious leaders or the elders of the family, in order to incite blessings of good health and long life upon the recipient. 

6. Leaving for Work

Date: 18th April

Time: 06:51am

Colour: White 

Direction: South

This is the auspicious time assigned for all those who work, to step out of their homes and set out for their workplace. It is said that practicing this will ensure that the New Year will bring with it success, wealth and good luck. It is also common for students to leave home for school or other institutions at this time in the belief that they will achieve good academic progress throughout the year. 

We hope this is helpful and heartily wish you all nothing but health, wealth and happiness throughout the upcoming New Year. Kiri Ithirewa!

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