Charitha Yattogoda, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai & Northern Emirates at the Consulate General of Sri Lanka, Dubai. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Dubai: This April 12, get a taste, feel and vibe of the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka right here in Dubai and join the community as they celebrate the Sri Lankan New Year Festival.

The Consulate-General of Sri Lanka and the community are pulling out all the stops to bring a fun-filled day where there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka called Aluth Avurudda marks the end the harvesting season. The start of the New Year is based on the sun’s astrological movement from the House of Pisces to the House of Aries, typically celebrated on April 13th or 14th when sun is directly above the island.

Around 250,000 Sri Lankans live in the UAE.

“Our main target is to showcase the very rich culture which dates back to more than 2,500 years. We also have traditional games for children for them to be familiar with and for adults as well,” Consul-General Charitha Yattogoda told Gulf News.

Starting with a Tolerance Run that’s open to all at 7.30am, the free-of-charge event is packed with activities and community-centred activities for expected guests of more than 15,000.

Volunteer groups are on hand to offer public service such as a free medical and dental camp, fee employment and legal advice booth, blood donation camp, and eye testing. Organisers and partners will also give away free spectacles to those in need at the event.

It will be day for all residents, including non-Sri Lankans, to let loose through the traditional games for children and adults, Yattogoda said.

All residents may take part in the sack race, placing the eye on the elephant, traditional pillow fight, breaking earthen pots, lime and spoon race, and many more. Attendees will also get to play the ‘Find the Secret Guest’ game where a mystery guest will roam around for everyone to catch. Winners will be given valuable prizes.

“Apart from that, we are inviting all the consulates based in Dubai to send a team of eight members comprising officials, staff members and their family members, for a tug of war at 4.30pm,” Yattogoda said, adding residents may cheer on their officials.

The renowned Ranwala Balakaya dance troupe is also flying in for a unique performance in the evening while a traditional beauty pageant will also be held. Photo enthusiasts may also take part in the Selfie Competition to get a chance to win air tickets to Sri Lanka plus hotel accommodation.

“We invite everybody to come and celebrate the Sri Lankan New Year with us. We’re bringing Sri Lanka to Dubai for those who can’t go to Sri Lanka and those who come might win flights to Sri Lanka as well.”

What: Sri Lankan New Year Festival

Where: Zabeel Park

When: April 12, 7.30am onwards

Admission: Free

Best for: Everyone

What to expect: Blood donation camp, medical and dental camp, free eye testing and spectacles, legal and employment advice, games, fun, food, and prizes galore