A non conformist's view on traditions
You will be reading this week's Mirror Magazine while celebrating the Sinhala and Tamil New year – a day that is special to so many of us in this country. When New Year comes around there is that wonderful feeling in the air with the koha bird singing early in the morning. (Actually we have a "koha" perched on tree near by which sings throughout the year). In many parts of the world, it would be spring time with flowers in bloom and the sun shining. Luckily for us in Sri Lanka, we have the flowers blooming and the sun shining almost very day of the year, which maybe one reason many of us don't appreciate the fact we are lucky to be born in a country like ours and go looking for greener pastures.
I started this article off thinking I will write about the New Year but I soon realized that I have had no real experience of a traditional Aluth Avurudda to write about. My observations of New Year traditions have been somewhat confined to eating at the auspicious time and wearing clothes of the appropriate colour. It's not that my parents did not believe in traditions and asked us to flaunt all the customs, but it had more to do with the nomadic lifestyle my siblings and I have had since our childhood thanks to the nature of our father's job which had us hopping across differ time zones periodically. (That makes observing auspicious times a little difficult I guess).
Anyway, since I got married and had my own kids, I thought I would settle in one place and follow things like the New Year traditions more closely, but sadly I haven't managed to do that either. Thankfully, the grandmothers are more aware of traditions and keener to observe them as well so the kids get to experience some of them, but I am far from becoming a traditionalist and probably never will be.
Actually I have nothing against those following traditions but I wonder why people have to be so hung up on them. After all, traditions are made by people. They have been handed down from one generation to another but they too need to be change with the times. How practical is it to practice a tradition followed 100 years ago in this day and age. “Not very,” I would say.
Which brings me to the reason I have given up completely watching TV, especially the Sinhala channels. Every time I turn on the TV, there are all kinds of people talking ad nauseum about "ape kama" and 'ape sanskruthiya' etc and how important it is to safeguard them etc. Anyone listening them would think they follow every tradition like they were followed years and years ago. But in reality I bet that all they do is talk on TV and do the exact opposite in their real lives.
I am sure this article will not go down well with the traditionalists around, especially on a New Year day but I am a non conformist and I am sure there are many more like me around. So have your self a wonderful and a not-so traditional new year. You can forego a few traditions if that's what you want. It won't kill you. And don't forget to write in the New Year to firstname.lastname@example.org.