C.U.R.E – Insight on Project C.U.R.E

“If you are not a part of the cure, then you are a part of the problem.”
Thalassemia is one of the most common inherited conditions of any major racial group in the European and Asian regions.
In Sri Lanka, there are insufficient measures in place to provide sufficient and accurate information to the individual, so that they may take up the opportunity of asking to be screened. Experts blame ignorance of parents for growth of thalassemia. However, its spread can be controlled easily through genetic screening and counseling. If only one parent is a carrier of the thalassemia trait, the child may have a normal life, but when both are carriers, there is a 25% chance in every pregnancy of a thalassaemics being born. If every expecting mother is informed and asked to get the test done to know if she is a thalassemia carrier, it will curb the spread to a great extent.
It is a part of the cure to want to be cured.
“C.U.R.E,” the project undertaken by the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, consists of two phases.
Phase 1- Open 3×3 Basketball Tournament.
Phase 2- Up-close and Personal Concert of Bathiya and Santhush (BnS)
The 3×3 Basketball Tournament which was the first phase of the project was successfully carried out and took place on the 5th of March 2017 at the basketball Court of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, with a participation of 56 teams.
Having completed the 3×3 basketball, phase 2 of the project, the Musical Concert led by Bathiya and Santhush will be the first time in which a Rotaract Club of District 3220 would organize such an event as the “BnS- Up-close and Personal Concert.” The proposed concert, planned to be held on the 3rd of May 2017 at the BMICH from 6pm -11pm, would take us closer to the objectives of “C.U.R.E”
The first objective of the project is the awareness programme. Several types of Thalassemia are curable through medication. For some it is compulsory to do a bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow transplant is not only expensive, it is a tedious process finding a matching bone marrow. It is therefore important that awareness and prevention is created at mass level so as to nip the problem in the bud.
The awareness project on the matter would take place via a Facebook Campaign on the causes and consequences of Thalassemia alongside an Awareness program focused on Rotaract Clubs of the District 3220.
The second objective, which is medical expenditure coverage for a time period of three months, with an expense of SLR 136,000 per month, would be carried out with the aid of the funds collected through the project.
The third objective, the setting up of a bleeding room for those affected by thalassemia in order to bring about a sense of privacy to those gaining treatment. This would ideally entail a partitioning in an existing room of the treatment centers. The objective could be achieved in two ways. Firstly by providing necessary funding to fix a partitioning in a required area or by assisting in the fixing of a partitioning by providing help in the form of labour
The fourth and final key objective o the project is the providing of vocational training to the victims, as most victims of the sickness are young children or adolescents and the prevailing issues lead to a lack of consistent education or training in a possible field of work. It is therefore a possibility to teach or train the patients in a field of vocation or even provide basic educational requirements in any way possible.

Our dreams seem big. Our goals seem tough. We believe however, that great things are possible when a series of small things comes together. Help us help them. Be the C.U.R.E.

Article by – Co-Editor Rtr. S.D.Perera

“Delicióso Grand Kitchenétte” |A Twist of Taste

As Sri Lankans we are inherited with a rich background of cuisine characterized with many fresh herbs and spices. We are all so proud of how our ancestors have mixed and mingled the homegrown spices to make the most flavorful dishes unique to Sri Lanka. We also believe that the “kitchen” is a gathering place for friends and family ;a place where memories are homemade and seasoned with love. Bearing this thought Rotaractors of KDU organized the annual cook off “Delicióso Grand Kitchenétte” bringing all the Rotaractors into one kitchen to learn the quintessential expressions of European cuisine.

The evening started off at the Singer showroom in Mount Lavinia under the guidance of Chef Mrs. Sujiva Withana. The cookery demonstration of few exquisitely unadorned and simple western dishes was lined up for the evening.
The first off was the “Cream of Asparagus Soup”. This dish was flavored with the richness of Asparagus shoots and herb mixture of thyme, bay leaf and rosemary. The aroma of the herb mixture in hot boiling chicken stock thickened with fresh cream filled the room in no time after kept on stove.

Meanwhile the Soup cooked into a creamy texture the Chef demonstrated the ingredients for the next dish; the “Shepherd’s Pie”. The base of this dish was the minced chicken saute topped with the rich creamy mashed potato made with butter and milk.This too was a simple mouthwatering dish which encapsulated the richness of Worcestershire sauce; a sauce unique to European dishes.

The final demonstration was the “Grilled Aubergines with Pesto Sauce”. The eggplant slices was brushed with olive oil and grilled until softened and lightly charred. The freshly ground basil gave the pesto sauce its lovely green texture flavored with the garlic and cashew-nuts.
Preparing the Apple Crumble was a cook off among the Rotaractors divided into 4 groups. It was a very simple but rich in sweetness and flavor. Just one clove added a lot of flavor to this dish and the aroma it gave was amazing! All 4 groups were pretty enthusiastic to unleash their hidden cooking skills. It was just like a real life experience of a “Fox Life” or a “TLC” cooking show. Every group made sure that their apple mixture got the correct consistency and tried their very best to make the dish perfect even by garnishing it with red and green apple peels! All the Rotaractors turned into passionate chefs for a while!
Chef Mrs. Sujiva Withana who is a professional cooking instructor at the Singer Cookery School gave us a lot of tips on how to make these fancy dishes easily with the help of the ingredients available in Sri Lanka, how to saute the ingredients perfectly and make tender and pillowy mashed potato that melts in your mouth! We saw many flavors mingle together to form soul food that is easy to make! The evening was an absolute delight!
The annual cook off was proof that a kitchen is indeed a place where memories are homemade and seasoned with love. Hence it is safe to say “Delicióso Grand Kitchenétte” did its best in bringing the young Rotaractors in harmony to blend in the culinary riches and witness the European cuisine.

🙂
Article by Co-Editor Rtr. M.Pasqual

To see the joy in the children’s eyes| Caroling for a Cause

What could be more fun and enjoyable for a bunch of 20-year-olds than to gather up and spend some quality time talking, singing, cracking jokes and reminiscing while munching on some yummy snacks? And imagine if all that energy is put towards a charitable cause, how contented we all would be!

“Caroling for a Cause” was an initiative of RCKDU to raise funds in order to provide essentials to the children of the inmates at the Walikada prison. Having completed the prison project successfully, Rotaractors of KDU decided on having “Caroling for a Cause” this year for the second consecutive time in order to provide essentials for orphans.

It was a piece of cake for us to gather up and run through few of the most popular carols with the talented choristers and the guitarists in the club. Dressed up in red, white and black with the “Santa hats” we were all in the Christmas spirit to go from door to door singing carols.

We simply loved it; to see the families gather in their halls to watch us sing and to witness the breathtaking interior Christmas decors in each house. They all were truly entertained, it was obvious from the way they all swayed, tapped their feet and mouthed the words along with us. Some even served yummy Christmas cake and soft drinks!

Every minute spent with the fellow Rotaractors preparing to sing and walking door to door singing carols was enjoyable. We did what we loved, it was tireless because we had fun spending time together singing and hoping to provide the ones in need with essentials in the coming New Year.
Coming home that night past mid night, it got me thinking… “This is exactly why I love Rotaract, it brings all of us together to put a smile on the faces that need to feel delighted in a season like this.”

We all felt much contented in ending 2016 with a blast, putting all our youthful enthusiasm for a charitable cause. The moments we spend together are never dull, each one of us definitely knows how to stay happy and make others happy and that makes being a Rotaractor worthwhile. 🙂

Article by Co-Editor M.Pasqual

Escape the Ordinary | Kuda Oya 2016

Month of December, as we all know it, is the month of festivity, glamour and vacation. It’s the end of a calendar year where most of us love to wrap up themselves on bed or gather around with family to take some time away from their busy schedules, enjoy the festive season with friends and re-energize to start another new year. As for the young KDU Rotaractors, this December was all about stepping out of their comfort zone with their fellow Rotaractors to take the most awaited trip to “KUDA OYA”.

For me, even though KUDA OYA 2K16 was my second time every little thing felt adventurous as it was my first. The best feeling about going to the Commando Regiment Training School with fellow Rotaractors once again, was that, it felt like going “home”. The warm welcome given by the officers and the early morning “sweet” tea has so much to say about how “homely” Kuda Oya is for me.

The Commando Regiment Training School in Uva Kuda Oya is originally the home for brave Commandos of our country, where they are groomed to be skilled with extraordinary strength, fearlessness, courage and motivation to face any battle and bear in mind that “Nothing is Impossible”. Hence for us, facing at least a wee bit of the challenges that the commando trainees face was actually something to brag about.

Kuda Oya was the place to set aside your fears and unleash the adventurous soul that hide within you because of your mundane daily routine at home or work. If you are an “adrenaline junkie” and would love to feel your heart racing with excitement, I guarantee that KUDA OYA is the ideal place for you.

Even though I’m yearning to share interesting details about KUDA OYA, on a collective agreement we are determined not to give out any spoilers for those who haven’t yet been a part of Kuda Oya. It’s all about experiencing than explaining. But I’m pretty sure all those who were a part of Kuda Oya had so much to share with their loved ones.

Thanks to all the “selfies”, new friends we’ve made in Kuda Oya and all the little stories we could laugh about for hours, Kuda Oya once again paved the way for Rotaractors to cherish a whole lot of memories. Next time when those Rotaractors meet, I’m pretty sure they would start their conversations saying “Remember at Kuda Oya…” in reminiscing the adventures.

“Life is for Strange Adventures, Midnight Swims, and Rambling Conversations.” Until next time, keep in mind that, “an adventure awaits you at Kuda Oya”. 😉

Article by Co-Editor Rtr. M Pasqual.

Year end nostalgia!

It is one of those moments when the mundane saying ‘time flies’ actually makes sense. If you take a minute to take a quick look back at the pace of one year that lies right behind you, you will notice that you have changed, you have become more matured, become more confident, grown your social networks, grown taller or grown fatter 😛

So have we, as a club.

The Rotaract Club of KDU is about to complete its third year and altogether step into a brand new Rotaract Year with the rest of the fellow clubs. Looking back at the past Rotaract year, we have gained more experience, learnt and embraced the Rotaract culture, made new friends, ridden a few roller coaster rides, gathered more passionate souls and literally grown fatter.

Still belonging to the infant category in Rotaract, judging by how old our club is of course, it is with pride that we reminisce how we were able to bring new projects into being and improve our signature projects at the same time. This calls for a little nostalgic paragraph and here we go.

Ok so we started the year with the installation as usual and the accompanying kottu and hoppers dinner and loads and loads of photographs. Then we went to Galle for ‘Sisu Saviya’ book donation. It was truly an amazing trip and bet you still can remember the tickles of the fish therapy. Not to forget the coolest boat rides and the fascinating sundaes.

Then there was the time when we visited the zoo. The singing sessions we had with the kids at St. Anthony’s Children’s Home, Mount Lavinia. They were so good at it! We also did a project at the Welikada Prison with RC ANC and we hope everybody enjoyed it 🙂

A big throwback to the amazing project Kuda Oya and a big shout out to everybody who dared to take part in it. It was indeed a great pleasure to have been able to extend the opportunity to as many Rotaractors from fellow clubs as possible and we know that each and everybody who took part in it already have a separate folder in their minds with the memories of all the adventures they came across. The third successful time of holding Chronicles of Navam and parading through the procession for two nights was enjoyable too. Among other projects also lies BURN: the three on three we pulled off as first timers and which ended up as a major fundraiser of the club.

Emerging as unbeaten champions at RCL set up our spirits higher!

Amidst all the fun and frolic, it was exceptional how the members acted promptly during the flood period this year and collected aid for the affected. The Down Syndrome Day art competition turned out to be a huge success too 🙂

There were more projects that ended up quite successful and the above were only the highlights. It is with great happiness and satisfaction that we are getting ready to step into the brand new Rotaract year of 2016/17.

Meanwhile, the blog also turns one!  :’)

Fingers crossed for a happening year to come round the corner!

Article by Rtr. Thamalee Wijekoon

Outgoing Editress 🙂

Rotaract Club of KDU supports flood relief campaign

Habitually, the month of May calls out for dansal and laterns. ‘Lights of Vesak’ – our usual ice cream dansala was supposed to be organized this time as well. But as the Vesak day got closer, the climate changed from sunny to gloomy and it started pouring. Once somebody said “Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain”, but this time, the quote clearly got twisted. Incessant rains caused tragic landslides in the central hills while bringing the low lying lands underwater. Thousands of people were left displaced while hundreds of others lost their lives during the disaster. The displaced were confined to temporary camps and the need for supplies of food, medicine and sanitary items were on the rise.

Identifying the need of the hour, just like the majority of the warm hearted Sri Lankans did, we diverted the donations we collected to put up the dansala and also gathered aid from the generous people around us to help those who were let down by floods to get up. Thus, we supported the campaign of donating essential items to the displaced, which was led by Sri Lanka Navy. Accordingly, essential drugs such as Paracetamol, Mebendazole, Omeprazole, Povidone iodine, Dielfenac sodium and Cetrezine hydrochloride and also other necessary medical items such as guaze, cotton wool, plasters and Jeewani were collected by us.

Besides the medical necessities, other requisites such as clothes, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, towels, mosquito coils, bedsheets/blankets, sanitary wear, undergarments and candles were attempted to be collected. Packs of cooked food were also distributed in the midst. A major portion of the collected items were distributed to the aggrieved person of Wellampitiya area. The Sri Lanka Navy subsequently conducted a general health camp for the victims of the floods as well 🙂

Though minute when compared to the size of the disaster and the need, we are still proud about the contribution that we made and shall always be thankful to everybody who dropped donation items at our collection centre at the university 🙂

“As and when the need for service arises, Caring to make our badge of Rotaract worthwhile, Tell us that we have not lived in vain” 

 

Culinary Journey through Asia

This was the key international understanding project of the year of our club. The members were taught how to make varieties of dishes as the proceedings of the project.
A team based cook off took place in relation to the project as well. The event proved to be an excellent experience to to those who knew how to cook and those who knew nothing at all too. The project was co- chaired by Rtr. Maleesha Paqual & Rtr. Shenelle Perera

RIBC & PINK take over three on three in style | BURN ’16

With the participation of over 160 players, the first phase of BURN ’16 concluded at the indoor basketball stadium of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University in the eve of 30th April 2016 with ‘RIBC‘ and ‘PINK‘ reaching the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The tournament which was of the THREE ON THREE nature carried on at normal pace at the initial knock outs but took an aggressive turn towards the semi finals and finals; where the real deal of the seven minute game made its debut for the day.

Knock – outs 

Out of 24 men’s teams J’pura Blues played against Colombo Bulls and RIBC  played against Ananda Kings Gold at the semi finals where J’pura Blues and RIBC scored winning hoops and got their path cleared for the finals.

In the women’s category,  Mavians won the semi final battle against the Old Paulians digging their way into the final dunk- encounter  while on the other side PINK emerged victorious over J’pura A , also qualifying for the finals.

 

Street dunk!  

That was where some stylish street basketball moves came into play. The final match in the men’s category took a competitive outlook where RIBC triumphed over J’pura Blues at a 16- 10 victory. The finals in women’s category was  taken over by PINK in a 11-8 nail biting victory against the Mavians. The guest of honour for the event, Director of Abans, Retd. Wing Commander, Pradeep Kannangara presented the awards for the winners of the men’s category while the awards for the female category winners were presented by the Rotaract Master-in-charge of Kotelawala Defence University, Lieutenant Commander BLC Gunawantha.

Winding up: Why BURN? 

The event concluded with friendly smiles spreading across everyone’s face, the teams congratulating the winners and posing for group photographs. After all, the sole aim of organizing BURN’16 was to raise funds for a pilot research project named ‘The Rain Drops Project’ of providing potable drinking water to persons of ‘Chronic Kidney Disease of Uncertain Origin’ affected area of Ginnoruwa, Girandurukotte jointly with ‘CERTKiD’ , the Centre for Education, Research and Training on Kidney Diseases of University of Peradeniya. The disease has aggrieved thousands of the dry zone farming community over decades and was also recognized as a global population health issue. The exact causative agent of the disease is still mysterious and so is the cure. But there is worldwide consensus among scientists that providing clean water for drinking and cooking can mitigate or prevent the disease. Thus as responsible citizens, it is up to us to support the viable solutions that are suggested by these authorities. Thus, we are more than happy to write a conclusive note about the first phase of the fundraiser, that we are now one step closer to accomplishing our target. Whether you took part, won, lost or even bought a patty at our refreshment stall, you have already become a part of this generous endeavour 🙂

We will see you soon again at the BURN phase 2- The Zumba -Dance fitness party to BURN more calories and fill our charity till.

 

Article by the editor

Life is too short to wear matching socks

We are living in a world where everything is stereotyped from ‘women can’t drive well’ to ‘if you wear Goth clothing, you are a drug addict’ and ‘only the students who are good at science or math succeed in school’. Living in such a community as a physically or mentally challenged individual should double the burden of existence on them. The chances of such people being subjected to bullying, various harassments and discrimination are far more greater than the others because they are at a disadvantage when their capability of fighting back is assessed. Protecting equality as a fundamental right for them means the rest of the community going an extra mile to lift their lives, so that they’ll be as equally armed as the rest of us to wrestle in the ring of life.

The reason why this article kept beating about the bush for a paragraph now was to get your attention to a group of such individuals living among us who were not exactly directly physically or mentally challenged but rather ‘genetically challenged’. Our concern here is the genetic defect of ‘Down Syndrome’; the trisomy of the 21st chromosome. When an egg gets fertilized by a sperm, the 23 chromosomes carried by the sperm form pairs with the matching 23 chromosomes contained in the egg. This gives rise to a cell with a total of 46 chromosomes or 23 pairs, which is the number of chromosomes found in a normal cell in a normal human being. Sometimes an error occurs in the production of reproductive cells (sperms and eggs) itself and as a result a sperm or an egg might carry both the copies of the same chromosome in it. When such a reproductive cell fertilizes with a normal reproductive cell, the combination will result in a total of 47 chromosomes which means that there will be three copies of one of the chromosomes instead of the 2 copies that should exist. It’s called a ‘trisomy’. When the trisomy of the 21st chromosome occurs it is called ‘Down Syndrome’.

Though the biological error behind this condition is microscopic, the impact it leaves on the life of a person is certainly macroscopic; majorly judging by the way the society perceives them. These individuals do get frowned upon sometimes by some of those ‘genetically perfect’ individuals of the society, as ironical as it may sound. This genetic defect leaves a person with retarded growth rates, lesser intellectual ability in comparison to the others of his or her own age, cross eyes, heart defects, relatively lower life expectancy, infertility in most cases, short necks, poor muscle tone, short hands and feet and also certain other characteristic deviations from normal appearance. We don’t wish to go on about them because those differences shouldn’t matter. But persons subjected to Down Syndrome are not in toto incapable. One can never predict how talented such a person is just by looking at the features his or her physique reflect. Their maturity may be slow but not totally non existent. This is a fact that the rest of the world should convince themselves when accepting and treating the particular individuals as no outcasts. The Downs Syndrome Day celebrations we recently took part in, made this statement explicit.

The ‘World Down Syndrome Day’ was celebrated on the 21st of March world wide and the Rotaract club of KDU was a proud participant of the Sri Lankan celebrations of the day organized by the Rotaract District 3220 together with the Kosala Dullewa Foundation. The event was held at the Royal College Nawarangahala on the 27th of March 2016. The Rotaract Club of KDU, together with the Faculty of Law of University of Colombo organized the “Sithaka Siththam- Colour My World” all island art competition where we displayed 800 drawings, all done by Down Syndrome affected individuals from all over the country. Many other events such as talent shows were also undertaken by other different clubs. We worked over several weeks trying to collect the drawings, preparing frames and so on which was all a little tedious but the end proved the effort to be fruitful. There is no cure found to Down Syndrome yet since it is a genetical disorder, but as the probability of occurrence of the disorder in babies increases with the age of the mother, a control can be exercised by raising awareness. This is exactly the purpose of pulling off such a large scale event annually.

The reality for many is that prevailing negative attitudes result in low expectations, discrimination and exclusion, creating communities where children and adults with Down syndrome cannot integrate successfully with their peers. But where children with Down syndrome and other disabilities are given opportunities to participate, all children benefit from this and environments of friendship, acceptance, respect for everyone and high expectations are created. Not only this, but these environments prepare all today’s children for life as tomorrow’s adults, enabling adults with Down syndrome to live, work and participate, with confidence and individual autonomy, fully included in society alongside their friends and peers. – Says the Down Syndrome International.

Nobody in this world was created by nature to be perfect. So differences exist among us for a good reason. Genetics is the business of the nature to handle. But overlooking those differences is the business of the society to handle.

Life is too short to wear matching socks. Accept the differences because you can’t colour an entire community with the same brush.

Project co-chairs:Rtr. Suchitta Witana & Rtr. Damin De Costa

Article by Rtr. Thamalee Wijekoon 🙂

 

Rewriting the Chronicles of Navam

Oriental cultures are known to play with colours. Ceylonese have inherited it in their blood line that the occasional cultural pageants that decorate the streets of the country fearlessly showcase the traditional fervour like no other. One such world known procession would definitely be the Kandy Esala Perehera and the next in line would be the Colombo Navam Perehera. These two pageants are not less attractive than the other; both alluring every blink of each local as well foreigner.

Our focus this time, as it continued for the past two years too, was the Colombo Navam Perehera or in the best known terms, the ‘Gangarama Navam Perehera’.The pageant had been annually travelling the streets of Colombo since 1979. It is with great zeal that we coordinate and assist with man power the parading of a collection of statues of Lord Buddha donated by Mr. Bandara, a main benefactor of the temple. The trucks necessary to place the parading Buddha statues were sponsored by the Dimo Company. These Buddha statues were paraded with a purpose. After showcasing them to the public, these Buddha statues will be donated to rural temples throughout the island. In all sorts and means, it is an act which gathers a great deal of merit. There are temples in far away villages of Sri Lanka which have dedicated followers of Buddhism in numbers but are still thriving under minimum facilities. Most of these villages may also not have benefactors wealthy enough to single handedly or collectively support the upliftment of the religion in their respective villages. Each Buddha statue will provide great motivation on the spiritual paths of many villagers. This year, the pageant was held on the 21st and 22nd of February, as it always targets on the Navam full moon poya day as the second day. It was on a Navam poya day that the two chief disciples of Lord Buddha; Sariyuth and Moggallana Maha Rahath Theroes were appointed by Lord Buddha. But more than anything else, the pageant is known as a grand depiction of the rich culture of Sri Lanka.

There is much to say about the pageant but first, here are some pictures of us helping out to interrupt 😛

We gathered at the Hunupitiya Gangarama Temple on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On Saturday we got engaged in decorating the trucks and hanging club banners on them. We also dedicated the day and Sunday afternoon for cleaning the Buddha statues to prepare them to be taken in the pageant later that day. On Saturday and Sunday, we placed the Buddha statues on the trucks and offered white and pink lotus flowers to them; a ritual followed by all Buddhists to remind about the uncertainty of the mortal world.

Towards the evening on Saturday, the boys got dressed in traditional costumes consisting of a white sarong and white long sleeved shirt to walk behind the trucks we decorated. The casket containing the relics of Lord Buddha was placed by His Excellency President Maithreepala Sirisena on the back of the elephant which had got gracefully dressed in stoned caparisons. Torch bearers positioned themselves along the pathway of the pageant with enough copra to light up the night. The pageant started with the thundering sound of whip crackers; the same way the Kandy Esala Perehera commences. Whip crackers announce the inception of the Perehera to the onlookers. The streets became silent, with everybody setting their eyes on the far end of the road. It is an aim of holding these pageants to invoke blessings of the triple gems and god. The whip crackers were followed by flag bearers. The tune for the walk of the pageant was supplied by drummers playing explosive beats, smoothened by flautists and pitched by conch shell blowers. The next in line were the fire dancers and fire breathers. They undoubtedly created magic on streets with their enormous capabilities. You could see them drawing short lived pictures on the night skies with rods lit up at both ends. Sometimes they rotated them so fast that they started looking like rings of fire. Troops of dancers spinning drums on wooden pointers and fingers added variety to the pageant. These skills usually are passed from generation to generation; there are families that have excelled in drumming, different styles of dancing and so on. Thus, holding these pageants also preserves traditional styles. The procession unveiled the three main dancing traditions of Sri Lanka namely, Udarata, Pahatharata and Sabaragamu. The traditional Ves dancers, dressed in their sacred costumes dedicated to deity Kohomba, Naiyandi dancers dressed in white turbans, beaded chest attire, brass shoulder plates and anklets and Udekki dancers playing their drums designed by deities were the main items that belonged to the Udarata tradition. Story says that in the Udekkiya, the two drum skins were given by God Ishwara, the sound by God Vishnu and that the drum was designed according to the instructions of God Sakra.  Pantheru dancers also merged a different jingling music with their instruments amidst drum beats.

Low country dancers marked a clear attraction in the procession. This dancing tradition, in a gist is called the ‘daha ata sanniya’, meaning that it consists of 18 main dances. The word ‘Sanniya’ is associated with the word disease. So these dances are done to chase away the evil spirits that are believed to be causing eighteen types of illnesses. By reason of that, these dancers wear beautifully designed masks with bulging eyes and tongues that are sticking out, depicting the traditional pictures of demons and reptiles. Sabaragamu tradition that originates from the Ratnapura district also entails a unique style and the dancers performed along the pageant to pay respect to God Saman. Outside these traditions, folk dances also received a prominent place in the pageant. Folk dances mainly include leekeli, kala gedi and raban dances.

Hindu tradition of dancing also got added to the list and made the pageant more and more interesting. The Kawadi dancers added fun and excitement to everyone who were watching. Some found it to be thrilling too. The trumpets and the Hindu drums provided such an enjoyable environment all of a sudden. It was indeed amazing to see how they would pin things to their bodies and jump and twist with them, still artistically! They also, like the rest of the traditions, perform these dances as a way of showing devotion to the God. Some Kawadi were decorated elegantly with peacock feathers. It is said by some that since this an act of devotion, the dancers enter a state of trance where they feel no pain and eventually heal their piercings with no scars left behind.

The lavish costumes of the performers were enticing but this article wouldn’t come to a close without praising the grandeur of the hundred elephants which marched all the way. They did not only look glamorous but some of them were killer dancers as well. They especially seemed to be enjoying the background beat of Kawadi dancing. The tuskers walked with attitude, probably because they are a limited lot. The others with no tusks popping out had their own fun having their leisure walk, shaking their tails to match the beat and occasionally taking time to wave a viewer or two with their trunks. The little confused ones who didn’t realize what the hype was about did their own thing like poking with their trunks at the next elephant.

Anyhow, at the end of about four hours of walking and also collecting panduru; coins thrown as funds towards the parade by the onlookers, we came to a stop. The rotaractors found it interesting to walk behind the trucks and collect coins. The collection was ultimately donated to the temple.

Article by Rtr.  Thamalee Wijekoon 🙂

Also look at our last year’s chronicles of Navam project at https://kdurotaract.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/chronicles-of-navam/