Lankarus

Naththal - Sri Lankan Christmas

Millions of Christians around the world are waiting for Christmas, as one of the greatest and most culminating holidays of the whole year. If the Europeans are preparing for the main celebration of the Christian calendar for a month before the offensive, marking every Saturday Advent, until December 24, then in tropical Sri Lanka, where Christian communities are represented by several concessions, everything looks even more exotic and colorful.
Western and the south-westen coasts of the island are mostly populated by Christians, or at least in every town there is a church or a Christian parish. Arriving, for example, to Negombo in the third decade of December, you find yourself in a true fairy tale in which it is even hard to believe: a majestic Indian Ocean, thousands of coconut palms and lush tropical vegetation… but everywhere Catholic, Protestant, Baptist temples and churches, the courtyards and facades of which are rich and with Asian flavor decorated with illumination, figures on topics of biblical stories with the stories of the Jesus birth. In combination with monuments period Portuguese and Dutch colonization in excellent preservation it is difficult match. Southern Europe in miniature almost at the equator!

The southern coast and especially Deep South Sri Lanka has numerically less prominent Christian communities, however, this does not mean that this part of the island does not celebrate the greatest Christian holiday. On the contrary — after visiting Sri Lanka for a short time, each guest of our country marks the maximum tolerance and friendliness of representatives of various religions and religions, very amicably and peacefully coexisting with each other, being literally neighbors.
The Deep South in the Tangalle region is inhabited mainly by Buddhists, who are very respectful to people of all beliefs. Here, anybody can be surprised getting morning greetings on the street by random passers-by or by phone calls from friends with sincere words: Subha Naththalak Wewa! (in Sinhala: Merry Christmas!)
It only remains to add that the major Christian holidays throughout the year are officially recognized as the red days of the calendar.

Hoteliers of Sri Lanka compete in ingenuity in order to surprise their guests with special programs on the occasion of Christmas. And every celebration here becomes especially unforgettable and not like the others. But the indispensable companions of the festival are fireworks and crackers, sweets and «salutes.» There's someone who will overtake the splendor…
In the outgoing year 2017 Lankarus team in the company of good friends, the staff of the Mandala Villas hotel, Rekawa celebrated Christmas, perhaps in one of the most original and unexpected styles… in the Kandiyan! Imagine, instead of the Magi and Santa Claus, Kandiyan dancers, drummers and actors in the Yaksha images!

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This Christmas evening, the Mandala Villas beach zone, Rekawa was given to the care of this show of Sri Lankan magic. In the light of powerful safitists, the drummers greeted the audience. And to their surprise because of the improvised screen of coconut leaves before the guests appeared actors in suits of yakshas. Yakshas — characters in the mythology of the Sinhalese people occupy a very long time a weighty place. Perhaps there is not a single inhabitant in Sri Lanka who somehow would not believe in yakshas — mythical beings, spirits and demons. The centuries-old connection of the Sinhalese with nature and its manifested energies inspired people with the idea that there are invisible spirits in nature that bring good luck or sorrow, joy or in sorrow, they guard the house or destroy its rest.
In the creative work of the Sinhalese it is customary to express the physical presence of yakshas, arranging in their honor costumed programs. Their two types are rustic, lasting for several hours of presentation, or short introductory programs for tourists, lasting from an hour to three.
Actors dress in costumes, put on masks that symbolize this or that spirit and selflessly immerse themselves in a mystical dance, enchanting with the beauty of plastic and the brightness of anyone watching and listening to the sounds of drums and the singing of musicians.

One of the elements of the program, as a rule, is the performance of actors in the form of yakshas with fires in their hands. This ritual dance has a deep meaning and it can not always be understood immediately. The general essence of such a dance is not just the worship of fire, but also the expulsion of all evil and negative from the surrounding space. Suited yakshas, as it were, expel this evil around the audience, making skilful and complex gestures, twirling and twisting the fires in their hands, now and then letting out the long and lush clubs of fire into the air, and even in the directions of those watching. It causes delight and grasps, producing a storm of emotions inside everyone, without leaving anyone indifferent.
Yakshas in different images replace each other every now and then. Especially a lot of laughter, for example, causes the Demon of Laughter. It is impossible to resist his contagious laughter, playful and plastic movements. After a few minutes, the audience begins to laugh out loud and applaud. How can you not believe in the miracle of exorcising the spirits of sadness !? And here we all, regardless of religion, are united by one thing: faith in the victory of Good over evil. So, the goal of celebrating Christmas, albeit in such an exotic form, is achieved.

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Leaving the evening devoted to Christ, and marked in such an original way, we would like to wish all Colleagues, Partners and Guests of Lankarus a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. We will meet again in the amazing Sri Lanka in 2018!

info@lankarus.com

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