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For some of his books he has won State Literary awards and Prof Suraweera is the only writer who had awarded more than six State Literary awards.
Suraweera is the initiator of introducing occidental literary theory to the 2 Sinhala reading public in the mode of translations. The significance of this Sinhala translation is that the translator had used five various English translations of the Poetica and setting up his Sinhala version as a 'critical translation'.
In Suraweera published the Sinhala translation of What is Art? By Leo Tolstoy. Furthermore he has translated the works by literary giants as T. Though Prof Suraweera's contribution to the society's journal limits to two articles, they are in very high academic quality. In this article the writer discuss the ancient history of text editing from its beginning to the middle of 19th century.
In a lecture delivered at the Society Suraweera analysed and appreciated the contribution of Sir D. Jayatilaka in the sphere of Sinhala literatiure and Culture. He was felicitated by his contemporaries, collegues and students in by publishing a festschrift. Such ge-names seem to have been in existence for a considerable period of time, for among the names of 17th, 18th and 19th century Kandyan Moor physicians given by Mohamed Sameer Personages of the Past.
Moors, Malays and other Muslims of the past of Sri Lanka. It is possible that such names, at least in some instances, were originally borne by the Sinhalese ancestress of these Moor families who passed it down to their offspring, thus ensuring its continuity. In the alternative, it would indicate the readiness of the Moors to adopt the salient features of the host culture so as to identify themselves more closely with their Sinhalese.
Dennis Mc. This may well suggest that the ancestors of these clans were Sinhalese, which is surprising given the overwhelming influence of the Tamil social milieu in the life of the Muslims of these parts. Lorna Dewaraja vividly explains that during the time of the Sinhala kings, from the inception, right up to the Kandyan Period, there was racial amity between the Sinhalese and the Muslims. The reason for this was that the Muslim traders were economically and politically considered an asset by the Sri Lankan king.
The Muslims were received favourably in the Kandyan Kingdom, as far as can be seen. Robert Knox says that charitable Sinhala people gifted land to Muslims to live Dewaraja p Muslims adopted the outward appearance and dress and manners of the Sinhalese. In Galagedara there are yet two villages occupied only by Muslims, surrounded by Sinhala villages. These two villages had Mosques Dewaraja p Mosques were built on lands donated by the King.
The architcture of the Katupalliya is Kandyan.
Ridi Vihare in Kurunegala gave part of its land for a Mosque and allocated a portion of land for the maintenance of a Muslim priest p In , in Rambukkana many Muslim boys had received their education in Buddhist monasteries. Many of them studied Sinhala and idigenous medicine. Facilities were provided for the Muslim boys to say their prayers and attend Koranic classes, while living in the temple. In this remote village in Rambukkana, Muslims made voluntary contributions towards the vihara and they participated in the Esala Perahera.
As a mark of respect the drummers voluntarily stopped beating of drums and paid obeisance when they passed the Mosque Dewaraja p The relations that have existed between the Sinhalese and Muslims of Sri Lanka since ancient timesillustrates the ethnic harmony in a pluralistic and multi-ethnic society. By and large, the Sri Lankan Muslims are peace loving and God fearing.
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Right from the inception they have exhibited their good will, generosity and a great degree of resilience towards all. Past history is a starked reminder to the present generation for peaceful coexistence. Of late emergence of business rivalry, rreligious intolerance, petty jealousies etc is on the rise and takes centre stage of racial tensions. Hate speech, including social media posts could easily whip up unscrupulous crowds on trivial issues into frenzy and cause anti-Muslim sentiments, turmoil and mayhem in the country.
Most of the time, these are the machinations of insignificant groups with vested interest. Yet, as a nation with a past bitter 30 year experience of ethnic unrest, an eye to an eye and a tooth to a tooth politics will get us nowhere. Today the Muslims are at the cross roads.
It is crystal clear that groups espousing violence in the name of any religion have no place among peace loving citizens. Ironically, majority of the victims of racial tension in Sri Lanka and elsewhere have always been found to be Muslims.
Any incident of isolated nature has to be taken up in the correct perspective of the Law of the land and timely tackled by the Police or the Security Forces.. This course of action would prevent organized gangs to take the law into their hands.
In this backdrop, it would be prudent to go the extra mile to train our citizens to cherish pluralism and tolerance from the childhood starting from school going days. Emphasis should be laid on the need for racial harmony through amity and coexistence. Edmund Peiris O. I says in his book: Christianity was not averse to dramatic performances as long as they did not infringe Christian morals and beliefs. The primary constituents of drama are and representations.
Both are present in the happenings which the liturgy records. The mass is a mimesis and the elaborating of its rituals was the first step towards a Christian the atritical art. The sanctuary, however primitive was a stage, and the faithful, however few, were audience as well as actors…. The mysteries, miracles and the morality, which was experienced in the Holy Mass, were represented in the modern drama through the classical dramatic style.
This was also one of the reasons for the flourishing of Christian drama. In Sri Lanka as mentioned in the early chapters, the early Christian missionaries encouraged and even composed Christian drama in Sinhala and Tamil. The Fathers used this puppet play in the passion play with images of sacred personages, especially in Vanni and later in Trincomalee and several other places. Moreover, in Christmas season, which is a season of joy and festivity among Christians, many dramas, were staged in the theme of birth of Christ and the incident connected with it.
This is true even today. These dramas are very attractive and designed in the poetic tune without the original wording. The significant drama of St. The drama was performed in many parts of the country. Many of the churches give important to this play in order to deepen the faith of laity. This includes customs and beliefs that they observe in day-to-day living from birth to death.
Not all the Tamil customs but some of them are prevailing among the Tamil catholic people. When we speak of customs of Tamil, it has a special reference to Hindu religion.
Because of the history of Tamil origin and the influence of Hindu background because of this reason the Tamil culture is misunderstood now, the clear distinctions of the significant and uniqueness of Tamil customs has been understood by the Tamil Catholics, whether they are Christian or Hindu. Therefore, let us deal with certain elements of social life of Tamil and their influences in Catholicism. The Childbirth in Tamil The Tamil tradition says many customs of the period of early childhood.
Tamil people name the child on the thirty- first day. Then the child is taken to a temple for the religious services and they distribute food items with the people who come to the temple.
Sri Lankan Tamils
Then when the child is grown the elders help to write the first alphabet of Tamil letters. Among the Catholics, certain traditions exist, but the baptism is very important for a catholic child. Humorously we may say when a Child is taken to receive baptism, and then only the villagers will come to know that they have a newborn child.
The Tamils have in their culture for any special function of the family they always gather as one family. After the mass, the parents serve some food items with the parishioners as a sign of joy, but it is not obligatory. Some others who are able to afford, prepare meals to the relatives and they are invited for meals. This is the normal observation that prevails among the Tamil catholic society. Tamil Marriage In the discussion of Tamil marriage, Catholics give more importance to the Holy Mass where the bride and groom become on flesh.
For a valid marriage, under the Thesawalmi one of the traditions of Tamils , there should be: Marriage is prohibited extends to alliance between any relations except cross cousins. Having this in their basement, they arrange marriage alliance. This is not strange to the Christian marriage tradition too.
After the consultation of both parties, they do necessary arrangements and have the ritual part of Tamil marriage; this ritual part is very much influenced by Hindu religion. This ceremony may long for two or three hours. Here certain elements have influenced the Tamil catholic marriages too. There are several customs among the Tamils because of the divisions of the caste system.
Therefore, let us consider the marriage customs held in a general format. In Catholic marriage perspective, after all the necessary arrangements, the parish priest approves the marriage to take place in church. Marriage takes place according to the Roman Rite, but there are certain cultural elements are included. If any regions use other praiseworthy customs and ceremonies when celebrating the sacrament of matrimony the Sacred Synod earnestly desires that retain these, by all means.
In Tamil wedding there is a ritual called as holding of hands-paanikirahanam-. The bride and groom hold hands with the promise of staying together until death. This is also very similar to the catholic weddings, because the bride and the groom hold hands together and the holy water is poured. After the tying of tali the parents of the both parties bless the newly married couple.
Then the kurai saree is blessed, but the bride does not wear it during the mass. In Tamil Hindu marriages there is a ritual called Akni-Pradakshinam going around the fire. They pay their reverence to the Agni-the sacred fire, the symbol of light, warmth, power, eternal, purification and energy. After the mass, the couple goes to wedding hall for Virunthupasaram wedding feast. Funerals of Tamils Funerals of Tamils are more or less same as the Sinhalese but the terms they use are different.
In any ceremonies of Tamils, caste determines the customs of that particular ceremony. It is also true with the Funerals. In general perception, let us look at certain elements. As soon as the person dies, the family informs their relatives and the known once.
They place the dead body for about three days but it is not obligatory. At the end of the day, the body is taken to the cemetery and to criminate. Among the Tamil Catholics, the funerals take place according to their cultures. Before the body is taken to the church, there is a small prayer service at the house. Then the priest sprinkles the holy water upon the deceased and those who around there. Afterwards, the body is taken to the church for funeral Mass.
After the Mass, the body is taken to the cemetery. According to the Tamil culture, no females are allowed to go to the cemetery. After the funeral in the customary fashion, all those who attend the function take bath before entering their respective houses. This practice is prevalent in South India as well….
Sometimes this practice is continued for weeks. This usage is also found prevalent among the Tamils and the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka.
This takes place on the third day, on the thirty-first day and annually. Yet, this almsgiving is not obligatory because of the statues of the family. During this day priest is invited and requested to the house to pray for the dead and for the family members.
Other Cultural Elements of Tamils Tamil people their more concern when they built their houses. Among the Catholics, the parish priest is invited to lay the foundation stone and pray for the well construction of the house. There is a small prayer in the Tamil ritual book for these kinds of services. Tamils, for any functions they appear in their traditional dresses. In some of the places, they invite and offer some sweets, sugar, delicacies, or fruits.
Eating habits vary geographically and shaped largely by what is grown in the different areas.
The leaf is spread in front of the diner, with the tip pointing left. Serving begins with sweet to hot. On the day of ayudha pooja, the annual festival at which craftsmen and others, and Hindus honour the tools of their trade.
Among the Catholics in some places, the workers receive blessings to their tools on May 01st, on the feast of St. It is a tradition of the Tamils, to take off their sandals or shoes before they enter into a house or temples.
It is because they say it is a symbol of respect and one can safely assume that it is because of general cleanliness. Among the catholic too this tradition is prevalent because of the culture they encounter.
According to Tamils, light symbolises knowledge, purification, new beginning and new life. These oil lamps are used instead of candles on the altar. Furthermore, lighting of the oil lamp takes place in the churches before any special masses and events. It symbolizes the new beginning and it is lit up with the intention of graceful start for the event. Kolam is an artistic design drawn on the flour with rice-flour, saffron, coloured desiccated coconut and flowers.
It is there to welcome guests. Saffron acts as disinfectant against possible germs too. Poorana Kumbam consists of kalasam- a brass or silver pot symbolises human body filled with holy water, topped with a coconut symbolises head surrounded by five mango leaves symbolises senses and placed on a plantain leaf covered with rice or paddy.
This poorana kumbam depicts the control of the body, mind and the senses, which would lead to self realisation. They also fight against the germs in the air. The frontward fold of the leaf symbolises a bore down welcoming the guests.
Plantain tree heavy with ripening and tapering blossom and the tip are tide at either side of the entrance symbolising the success of future generation. Pottu is a mark drawn on the forehead between the two eyebrows. Normally, the married women apply kungumam on their forehead. This pottu is analogous to the wedding ring.
Among the Tamils ornaments, such as the bangles or bracelets worn around the wrists, shoulders or even ankles by women were considered as symbols of protection against evil spirit. In some places when a person gets seriously ill, priest blesses a black thread and sacramental to tie as a protection. Kodi tree is famous in Hindu temple feasts.
They tie flags representing every region of the village and the figure of deity. The robe stands for the right desires of the soul. In Catholic churches, we have the same elements as the hoisting of the flag before a feast. We do not know exactly where the origin begins, but Tamil people had accepted hoisting of the flag as a symbol of unity.
Before the novena begins, there is a small prayer service of hoisting the flag. Here, the priest mentions that our soul needs to be united with God the Almighty. It is also the fount from which all her power flows. Participation will not be active unless the culture and tradition, to which the people are familiar, are adopted in the liturgy.
Therefore, the constitution emphasises the norm for adopting the liturgy to the culture temperament and traditions of people. According to the constitution, there were certain adaptations in the Roman Rites.
Archbishop Rt. The posture during mass, for both the priest and the faithful may be adapted to the local usage that is sitting on the floor standing and the like; and footwear may be removed.
Genuflections may be replaced by the profound bow with the anjali hasta. A panchanga pranam, by both priest and faithful and take place before the liturgy of the word, as a part of penitential rite, at the conclusion of the anaphora. Incense could be made more use in liturgical services. The receptacle could be the simple incense bowl with handle. The corporal could be replaced by a tray tali or tambulam tattu of fitting material.
Oil laps could be used instead of candles. The preparatory rite of the mass may include; the presentation of gifts, welcome of the celebrant in and Indian way e.
First, we must remember our Masses are in our local languages not in Latin. Moreover, an observed fact in the mass, priest uses mango leaves to sprinkle the water upon the faithful as a sign of baptism during the penitential rite.
These elements are very rare in a Mass unless there is a special mass, especially in the Thai Pongal mass. The Thai Pongal is an occasion for a thorough cleaning of the house and the casting off old pots and pandas. This is celebrated during the season when paddy and other cereals, sugar cane and turmeric an essential ingredient in Tamil cooking are harvested.
The pot of rice with the flavouring and sweetening ingredients is set to boil. The children and the young crowded round the pot watching the boiling mass. Then the pot is taken from the fire and offered to the Sun-God on a large plantain leaf and then shared with the neighbours.
This feast is traditionally celebrated among the Tamil Catholics as a gratitude to God for blessing farmers in their harvesting. They celebrate this festival along with the Holy Mass. In the Tamil missal, it is mentioned about the Mass for this harvest as Mass for the harvest. Before the Mass begins, the above mentioned customs take place.
Afterwards when the Pongal is ready it is brought in a procession and placed before the altar. Then, the mass begins. Therefore having analysing the available resources, we come to an agreement with the culture of Tamils.
That is to say, we have included many cultural elements into the religion of Catholicism in Sri Lanka. The Liturgical Commission of India approves many Tamil liturgical books, spiritual books hymnals etc. Therefore, these cultural elements are later adaptations after the Vatican Council II. However, the sad part of the story is we deny this fact and ready to accept a strange culture rather than accepting our own culture. On the one hand, when people speak of Sinhalese culture they understand in Buddhist perspective, on the other hand when people speak of Tamil culture they assume in Hindu perspective.
However, it is not true. The truth is that, we cannot neglect our own culture, and with this, we need to have faith in God, consequently, that faith should be expressed through cultural elements. Having discussed the most reliable facts we come to know about our catholic religion, Tamil culture and Sinhalese culture. Some of the cultural elements of these two main cultures have given meaning to the living of our catholic faith.
This will surely lead us to be an active participant in the liturgical celebrations, especially in the liturgy. Apart from that cultural art, drama, dance and music will definitely give us an identity as a Tamil or as a Sinhalese in the religion of Catholicism. Therefore, we need to make use of our cultural background in the mission of promulgating our Catholic faith.
There may be many new discoveries, new inventions and many complicated moral issues. Nevertheless, among these we cannot abandon our cultural values. Our cultures have their own value even in the past, continuous in present, and will flourish in future.
Hence, let us include these cultural elements in our religious practices.
Ravana – Kanchana Manamendra
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Pastoral Guide: KJC Publications, General Instruction to the Roman Missal. Indrapala, K. Asian Culture And Society.
New Delhi: Anmol Publication PVT. Kuruppu, D. The Pearl of the Indies: A Handbook of Ceylon. The Catholic Messenger Press, Macionis, J. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. Mackin, T. What is Marriage? Marriage in the Catholic Church.
New York: Paulist Press, Michael, Jesudhasan. Worship in the Agamic tradition of Hinduism: Adopting arati and the Syllable OM in Christian worship. Asian Trading Corporation Publications, Milton, Vinger.
The Scientific Study of Religion. McMillan Publishing Company, Perera, T. Poruva Ceremny and Festal Hymns. Modern Books Co. Pillay, K. South India and Sri Lanka: University of Madras, Raghavan, M. Tamil Culture in Ceylon: A general Instruction. Kalai Nilayam Limited, Peiris, Edmund.
Studies Historical and Cultural. Colombo Catholic Press, Bugnini, A. Sacrosanctum Concilium: The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.
Vatican Council II: Flannery, Austin. Silva, L. Beliefs and practices in Sri Lanka.In fact, this original manuscript is probably in the Library of Propaganda at Rome. Kingdom of Dambadeniya. Holt, John, The Sri Lanka reader: This is because to identify church as something not an alien.
Vasabha 67— CE , named on the Vallipuram gold plate, fortified Anuradhapura and built eleven tanks as well as pronouncing many edicts. Sinhala Language Language is a reflex of culture. These oil lamps are used instead of candles on the altar. Plantain tree heavy with ripening and tapering blossom and the tip are tide at either side of the entrance symbolising the success of future generation.
During these riots the government did nothing to control the mob.