Each family has its traditions and customs that strike a special chord among its members. In the case of the Dodanduwa Weerasooriyas, it is an art of story- telling that seeks to unite generations, celebrate achievements and generally place on record who in the family is doing what. With so many members scattered throughout the world, so many living here in Sri Lanka but not exactly in the loop when it comes to family stories, the Sooriya Samarum comes as the much looked forward to edition of family stories for the Weerasooriyas of Dodanduwa.
“We are a family that likes to share the stories and keep memories alive among the members,” says Gen. Srilal Weerasooriya, President of the Dodanduwa Weerasooriya Family Welfare Association (DWFWA). “There have been magazines done by DWFWA in the good old days – the tradition was revived when we published the Sooriya Katha edition in 2009.” Sooriya Katha received such a remarkable response that the DWFWA Committee decided to publish a second volume to celebrate the golden jubilee of DWFWA.
Sooriya Samarum was a labour of love for Gen. Weerasooriya and his committee. It also was a lot of work, tracking people down, bringing their stories together compiling an edition that promised to be as interesting as Sooriya Katha two years ago.
Sooriya Samarum features a painting of fishermen on the southern coast, painted by clansman, the famous David Paynter – set against the southern coastline, where the Weerasooriyas have their roots. The magazine brings many stories to life, featuring the young and the old, the turning points, the achievements, stories, anecdotes and interesting bits and pieces ; it also features family recipes, dug out from the archives and records births, deaths, weddings and other such occasions as well.
“ Sooriya Samarum renews staying in touch – it is easy to lose touch in today’s complex world. In many ways, Sooriya Samarum renews connections, reaches out to family members separated by distance and most importantly, shares with the young the importance of belonging to a family,” adds Imm. Past President – DWFWA Tennyson Rodrigo.
The DWFWA launched the magazine at the 50th AGM held in Hikkaduwa, which the family calls home. The Dodanduwa Weerasooriyas have produced outstanding Sri Lankans such as the family patriarch David Weerasooriya who contributed tremendously to Christianity in the south, his son Arnolis Weerasooriya who pioneered the Salvation Army in Sri Lanka and India, Ven. Piyaratne Thera who was the Sanganayake of the Southern province and founded the first Sinhala Buddhist school in the south, Advocate Hubert Weerasooriya, and David Paynter.
Gen. Srilal Weerasooriya who was the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Prof. Tilak Weerasooriya –Dean of the Ruhunu Medical Faculty, Mervyn Weerasooriya, former Commissioner General of Inland Revenue, late Dr J.H.F. Jayasuriya who was head of CNAPT , Prof. Oleap Fernando – Prof. Emeritus of the Open University, late Justice H.W.R. Weerasooriya and cricketer Aravinda de Silva and many others are among the current generation of illustrious Weerasooriyas.
Past President of DWFWA Committee Tennyson Rodrigo, Committee members Major Gen. Lohan Gunewardena, Gihan Weerasooriya, Prof. Tilak Weerasooriya, Rohan Weerasooriya, Senarath Wimalasena, Dilhani Weerasooriya, Rohan Fernando, Nilendra Weerasooriya, Asoka Weerasooriya, Laksiri Gunewardena, Nishan Weerasooriya,Mirium Weerasooriya, Ravi Weerasooriya, Malathi Weerasooriya, M.D Asoka Weerasooriya and Rajitha Fernando contributed tremendously towards making Sooriya Samarum a success. The Secretary to the Committee, Ruth Wimalasena, a DWFWA stalwart, co-ordinated the stories, lovingly putting it all together, checking for gaps and making sure it was all there. Committee member Nayomini Ratnayake Weerasooriya and her team at Rhema Publishing, publishers of Satyn magazine, handled the final designing , editing and publishing effort.
Copies of Sooriya Samarum can be purchased by calling 0773-462965, 0777-713350 or 077-5974524.