Over 2,000 foreign students are studying at South Ural State University. New Year in Russia is a new and unusual experience for them. We asked our foreign students to tell us how people celebrate New Year in their native countries. Revsiri Sarana, a postgraduate student from the SUSU Institute of Linguistics and International Communication shares the Sri Lankan traditions of celebrating New Year.
“People of Sri Lanka celebrate the national holiday of New Year in April. It is considered to be a winter holiday, and is called Aluth Avurudda. We celebrate it 7-10 days, according to Solar Calendar. The first day is the celebration of the Old New Year, it is a preparation day. The next day is the New Year itself. During the Old New Year we try to finish things off, we do not cook, and do nothing but attend to religious matters. On the New Year’s Day there is a certain hour when the whole country starts cooking. Every family cooks the traditional holiday dish – rice with coconut milk. Then after a certain hour everyone starts eating and doing different things. One other tradition is that we use various oils. Monks or elder people give us their blessing and grease the tops of our heads with special oils. The sun is the main New Year symbol for us. There is also a Buddhist New Year, Sagaalgan, which is celebrated in May. For this holiday we decorate our houses with Vesak Kudu, festive paper lanterns of various colours. Solemn ritual ceremonies called khurals are held in temples during the whole day and the whole night, and after that an abbot congratulates the congregation,” tells Siri.