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Excitement at children’s lantern competition

By Nimesha Herath

Dilini Erandika’s eyes lit up with excitement as she talked about the lantern, she had created with colleagues from Sri Sangamitta Balika Nivasaya, which hung outside HSBC’s Bambalapitiya branch awaiting the judges’ decision.

It was as exciting as a school sports meet with children from different orphanages waiting for the winners of HSBC’s ‘Wesak Lanterns’ competition to be announced last Friday, each one hoping it would be their name that would be read out.

That evening children’s singing and laughter echoed through the HSBC branch on the eve of through the Vesak Poya day, proud of their lanterns that lit up the street.

Before the results were announced, 17-year old Erandika said she was confident that her group would win a prize, especially since it was a team effort. And sure enough their team won for the ‘Most Traditional Lantern’ in the competition and a well deserved one it was.

The winner of the ‘Most Creative Lantern’ – Yashodara Balika Nivasaya – also deserved to win as 16-year old Jayani Geethanjali from the orphanage explained that it needed a great deal of thinking to put the lantern together. The ‘gharbaya’ with two towers on the side was created using natural resources like coconuts, coir, etc and the judges certainly picked a winner.

All eight lanterns were equally good in beauty and creativity. The lantern in the form of the ‘Dharma Chakraya’ was designed to portray the significance of Buddhism and to showcase teachings of the Buddha. Sriyanthika Herath, 17, said they hope the light from the lantern will be a guiding light to many on Vesak Poya day.

Another spectacular lantern had the ‘Dalada Maligawa’ built on a ‘Nelum mala’ made out of coir, beautifully designed and made by the children at Lauries Girls Home- Wellawatta.

A view of the children’s lanterns lit up to show off their true splendor. Pix by J Weerasekera.

The children said they had so much fun working in teams with the HSBC staff while building the lanterns. And the bond clearly was visible that night when the entire staff joined in singing to entertain the children.

It was an evening of happiness, good lessons and a lot of fun for these children in celebrating the 2550th Wesak Buddha Jayanthi anniversary.

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