It’s that time of the year again when schools and work places wind down slowly and the faint cries of the Koha echo in the air. It’s a time when families gather to make sweet meats and other Avurudu treats, colour wash their homes or take the opportunity to head out for a much awaited break.
With Avurudu dawning next week and families gathering to celebrate the holidays, thoughts of home and Avuruddu’s that have been celebrated in the past - linger in the thoughts of the following youngsters who tell the Mirror Magazine what they miss most about the festivities.
For Ayesh Piyara a 25 year old student of Bio technology in India, being home for the local holidays is just a wish. Owing to his studies Ayesh is unable to visit home as regularly as he would like and it has been nearly six years since he visited last. Looking back he says Avurudu is one of the holidays he looks forward to the most. “I wish I was home for the New Year. My family and I get together and participate in all the rituals and in the evenings we get together to play games,” he says.
While the Avurudu holiday essentially centers around family, Ayesh can’t get away from recalling those seven hour drives to his grand parent’s home in the evenings adding the journey itself “was a very interesting one.” However this year Ayesh hopes to spend the day with his friends or in his room watching movies. “But one thing is for sure, I am going to spend the next New Year with my family,” he adds cheerfully.
“I usually spend the New Year with my family and friends at home. We do all the traditional observances in the morning and go out with friends in the evening,” said Sash Perera who adds that this year’s New Year will just be about wishing her family over the phone. “It wont be anything special,” laments, Sash who is studying in the UK and is in the middle of exams. The web producer too recalls many happy Avuruddu’s past and longs for the warm feelings the holiday evokes wishing she was back at home to share in the Avurudu experience.
As with all New Year preparations, the food takes centre stage and this is what Shimara Gunawardena misses the most about the Avurudu holiday. A student of biochemistry in the USA she says she will miss cooking the traditional milk rice with her mother but also the “drowsy feeling” which follows in the inevitable aftermath of a heavy kiribath helping at breakfast.
While grand preparations and get-togethers abound every New Year holiday - it’s also a time for nostalgia as Nadeeshani Senadeera based in Bahrain says she will “miss every single moment of the New Year”. Eager to be near her family and celebrate the New Year, unfortunately like most youngsters who work overseas it will just be another day. And it is like wise for Manoj Silva, who studies Law and worksin California. “Like everyone else I would love to spend my New Year with my family and friends too. But I am very busy and I rarely have time to visit my family especially during the New Year,” he said. “The New Year is supposed to be one of the happiest times in the year - but being here it’s just another day for me.”
Having worked in Colombo Ramesh W remembers his journey’s to Galle during previous New Year celebrations to visit his parents. “I rarely got to go home but I made sure to be home during the New Year,” he says in a melancholy tone while reminding us that he too won’t be able to make it home for the New Year.
His studies in India have kept him away from this year’s festivities and for him home is the foremost thought during this month. And what does he miss most ? “I will miss all the traditional activities and all the visits we make to our relatives during the season.”