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Decorating for Avurudu

Decorating for Avurudu

  • by Neville Epa
Decorating for Avurudu

Celebrating Sinhala and Tamil New Year starts at home. All the preparations begin at home. From repairing any damages, doing any construction, repainting walls to decluttering unnecessary items (old clothes, unused utensils or furniture, old devices) and making room for the new year and of course, a major deep clean before the new year actually begins. This is all usually done in the two weeks leading up to the celebrations so that the household is ready to welcome in the new year and guests to join the festivities.

With every celebration, come decorations. While it is not an absolute necessity, it definitely gets everyone in the mood to have a good time as well as makes the home more lively, and vibrant! One of the most common decorations for the season would be a Kolam.

A Kolam (also known as Rangoli) is a line drawing that is done using rice flour, white stone powder or chalk powder. It is usually a combination of straight lines, curves and a grid pattern of dots. You will often see the Kolam in a mixture of colors, usually bright pinks and yellows to signify the happy celebration. These are drawn at the front of the home as a sign of welcoming others into their homes and lives as well as harmony.

Aside from this, you will see the usual lamps and clay pots. The clay pots are usually filled with fresh water and decorated with mango leaves - symbolizing abundance for the household. And the lamps are oil lamps that are placed all over the house to signify the triumph of light over darkness in the coming new year. In some households, there would also be coconut arrangements which are known as 'Pol Aththu' which are placed to represent good fortune.

With this in mind, the new year is also a new beginning. Homes are adorned with beautiful fresh flowers from jasmine to orchid to lotus flowers, and sometimes even marigold! The blossoming flowers welcome fresh starts and new experiences in the upcoming year. Some houses will even have strings of the flowers around door frames and garlands across tables which also adds a nice fragrance to the home straight from the entrance.

Considering that the celebration is full of life, color and joy - it only makes sense that houses can also put up colorful lanterns in and outside the house in time for guests to visit. Usually, the oil lamps are lit up all over the house but you may also find decorative lanterns that are made of paper or fabric (similar to the ones that are put up during Vesak) in shades of yellow, red and green to signify prosperity and harmony.

Lastly, is the Kapruka. This is not found in all households but it is essentially the New Year Tree. It is supposed to symbolize the Tree of Life and it is believed that it brings blessings and good fortune to the household. The tree is typically adorned with betel leaves, coins and fruits.

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