It’s almost New Year in Sri Lanka. A time, April 13 & 14th, based on the lunar New Year. A time for families to get together and exchange gifts (usually clothing) and eat especially-made goodies.
One New Year I went to a department store in Galle to buy some sarongs for my ‘kunu kunu police’ team (remember – my trash team?). Well, the store was at least 4 stories high and hotter than hell. I didn’t know I could sweat that much. I was the last in a queue of about 200 people, all Sri Lankans, when I heard, ‘Madam! Madam!’ The cashier motioned me to come to the front of the line. Kind of him not to make the only foreigner wait in line, but I am such a stickler on people cutting in line, that I waved him off and said, ‘No thank you.’ There was NO WAY I was going to cut in front of crowd of people who were all sweaty and as hot as I was, just because I was a foreigner. NO WAY! But to tell you the truth, after about an hour suffering in the line, I wish I would’ve taken the cut! J
I spent the best New Years at the hotel down south where I first landed in Sri Lanka. It was a big deal there. There were games and contests and skits for the tourists and hotel staff and their families and some locals from neighboring villages. It was a blast had by all!
Below are some of the photos I snapped over the couple of years I was at the hotel.
Me, joining in playing the raban drum.
At the top of the greased pole is a flag.
If someone can get the flag, they receive RS 1,000
(About $7.50 - a good amount for some villagers!)
These 3 guys were ringers from a neighboring village.
They got the flag in super time!
With muscles like that, who couldn't
climb the greased pole!
I think they cheated standing on each
others' shoulders - but I wasn't the judge!
The pillow fights got crazy, with the crowd
shouting for their favorites.
Not easy to stay upright on the log.
There goes one guy, falling off the log!
The gardener for the hotel, played the fire dancer
and entertained the crowd with his fire and antics!
Coconut grinding - who could do it the fastest! The
woman in gray won!
Musical chairs. I played and got roughed out of a
chair by a tiny girl!
A skit - the Doctor
(played by a lorry driver).
The pregnant patient. So hilarious looking!
Egg toss! I was wiped out at the first toss!
There's a technique and these guys have it.
But not this guy!
A bicycle race, on who could ride the SLOWEST!
Kapila, one of my kunu kunu guys,
goes for the flag on the greased pole!
Kapila won the Rs 1,000!
The volleyball referee.
He jumps! He scores!
The winning team!
Tug of War!
The winner on his knees as the guy in green
and yellow is still going for it!
The foot race!
The old guy is in front!
He's not going to let anyone beat him!
This fellow got blasted with water during the race!
The old guy won the race! As he did every year!
A skit where the barber, on right, shaves the client.
With tree trimming shears!
A little water needed for the shave!
Some shampoo (made with flour!)
A good massage!
Posing for his 'salon' picture!
Note: This was the best of times! The best Sri Lanka New Years!
I wish everyone a very happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful New Year!
© ShadeTree Productions