As the traditional new year is celebrated in Sri Lanka and other Asian countries this April, it is crucial to bear in mind the fundamental meaning and value of this momentous event. These nations’ cultures and traditions are deeply ingrained in the new year celebrations, which provide an essential platform for people to unite, reinforce their relationships, and promote a spirit of unity and peaceful coexistence.
However, in recent years, there has been a growing trend of politicizing and commercializing these events, threatening to undermine their cultural and social value. Some political parties and organizations seek to use traditional ceremonies as a platform for promoting their own agendas, and in doing so, create unnecessary divisions and tensions within society.
Similarly, commercial interests often seek to capitalize on these events by turning them into consumer-driven spectacles, thereby reducing the significance of these occasions to mere commercial transactions. This not only trivializes the cultural and social value of traditional events but also polarizes the public by creating artificial divisions based on wealth and consumption. Therefore, it is essential that we uphold the true spirit of the traditional new year and prevent it from being exploited for political or commercial gains. Instead, we must focus on promoting the cultural and social significance of these events, and use them as an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of our communities and celebrate our diversity.
As Sri Lanka slowly normalizes after the deadliest economic meltdown in its history, the responsibility to uphold the cultural and social significance of traditional events such as the new year falls on every Sri Lankan citizen. It is imperative that we recognize the importance of our cultural heritage and traditions, and work towards preserving and promoting them for future generations.
In addition to the economic crisis, Sri Lanka has also faced various national and manmade calamities in recent years, including the Easter Sunday bombings and the COVID-19 pandemic. These tragedies have caused immense pain and suffering for the Sri Lankan people, and have had a significant impact on the nation’s ability to celebrate its cultural events. However, this year marks a special milestone, as Sri Lanka is finally able to celebrate the new year after a hiatus of four years. As we come together to celebrate this auspicious occasion, we must remember the resilience and strength of our communities, and use this as an opportunity to renew our commitment to unity and social coexistence. It is also important that we resist the temptation to politicize or commercialize these events, and instead, focus on their cultural and social significance. Let us use this opportunity to promote peace, harmony, and understanding, and to build stronger bonds within our communities.
As we celebrate the new year, we must recognize the significance of our cultural heritage and traditions. By coming together and embracing the spirit of harmony and coexistence that underpins this occasion, we can ensure that our traditional ceremonies continue to enrich our lives and contribute to the well-being of our societies. Let us put aside our differences and renew our commitment to unity and social coexistence. It is crucial to bear in mind our duty to safeguard and perpetuate our cultural legacy and customs. By striving to conserve and propagate them for posterity, we can help forge a more resilient and dynamic Sri Lanka. Let us endeavour to honour our heritage and traditions, and thereby foster a sense of pride and unity among our people.
May the traditional new year bring health and prosperity to all Sri Lankans and other Asian nationals who celebrate this auspicious occasion!