“Oba Saemata Subha Aluth Avuruddhak Wewa”❣
Apart from the numerous traditional sweetmeats indulged in, during the period of the Sinhala new year, (Wikipedia), celebrations, indoor and outdoor sports feature prominently. The celebrations go on for about two weeks or more starting, 14th April.
New Year Games – Avurudu Kreeda | Sunday Observer www.sundayobserver.lk/2017/04/09/junior/new-year-games-avurudu-kreeda
Over time some very typical contests of the new year have taken a back seat as other sports take precedence.
The coconut🥥 scraping contest or “pol gaemey tharangaya”, the coconut leaf weaving contest or the “pol athu viveemey tharangaya”, the the edible green leaf🌿 dicing contest or “maellung liyeemey tharangaya”, are among these.
All these contests are mostly participated in, by women. They are skills that set them a part from each other in the culinary arts, and handicrafts.
The contestants do not only have to achieve first place in scraping the coconut, but they have also to scrape it as minutely as possible. i.e., it must turn out white and fluffy.
In an era when there were no blenders, this was a necessity in order to gain the most of the scraped coconut, when squeezing it to obtain the milk, by hand.
The weaving of the coconut palms must be done with no gaps arising in between! This is done so that the woven palm leaves when used to thatch roofs will hold good from the elements.
The “mallung” is a dish of green leaves, which could include a variety of edible healthy leaves like “gotu kola” or Centella asiatica, “mukunuwenna”, Alternanthela sessilis or even passion fruit leaves, among others, with scraped coconut. I have not come across this dish in any other cuisine.
The contest involves dicing the leaves as thinly as possible. It can’t be called dicing exactly. It’s a special art.
These are but a few contests that are scarcely highlighted, that come to mind.
By Sharmini Jayawardena