Sinhala and Tamil New Year – From an Australian born Sri Lankan youth – by Darshana Munasinghe

Sinhala and Tamil New Year – From an Australian born Sri Lankan youth – by Darshana Munasinghe

Source:Dæhæna – Radio 4EB Sri Lankan Group – Monthly e-Newsletter – April 2022

Sinhala and Tamil New Year - From an Australian born Sri Lankan youthAs the Sinhala and Tamil New year is approaching soon in April, I begin to reminisce on my childhood memories and what the day means to me as an Australian born Sri Lankan. During the 2006 Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations in Canberra, I was just an 8 year old kid really just thinking about cars and cricket. 

The day started with my parents setting the table and making delicious milk rice. There is really nothing better in the morning than having savoury milk rice and sambol. Our family friends in our neighbourhood would come with fresh crispy kokis and delicious kavum and we would kneel and venerate the elders in the room. The generosity of sharing food and the respect towards others shown on the Sri Lankan New Year’s Day are values that are deep rooted into our Sri Lankan DNA and provide a glimpse into the depth of our cultural identity.

The festival that year was something I do recall. I was quite hesitant, however, upon reflection, it is a memory I will not forget. Prior to that day, there was months of preparation for my sister and me, such as going to dance school on the weekends and practising singing ‘Pahana Thiya Budhu Saadhuta’ as a performance piece. As one of the two boys in the dance school, I was quite nervous and kept forgetting the dance routine. To add another dynamic to the day, my mother dressed me as the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the costume competition! To my surprise, I really enjoyed dancing, singing and participating in New Year games with my friends. Even at a young age, I did feel I was a part of a strong community where parents and children celebrated together under our shared identity as Sri Lankans.

Fifteen years onwards, I had the absolute privilege of being the lead organiser for the 2021 Sri Lankan New Year’s Youth Festival with over 200 students attending from the three major universities in Brisbane. I could see that the community strength and passion for our culture has successfully passed onto the second-generation immigrants. 


Darshana Munasinghe


Darshana MunasingheDarshana is a 23-year-old student at QUT studying Business and Engineering. He was the President of the QUT Sri Lankan Student Association in 2021 and collaborated on community based projects with FSOQ, SAQ Youth and the 4EB Youth wing

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