Around 8,000 members of Qatar’s Sri Lankan community had a lot of fun yesterday at a get-together held at the Al Sadd Sports Club, to celebrate the Sinhala and Hindu New Year ‘Bakmaha Ulela,’ which began on April 14.
The day-long event, organised by the Sri Lankan embassy in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Co-ordinating Committee (SLCC) Qatar, had the embassy’s charge d’affaires A Tharmakulasingham as the chief guest.
The events of the day started in the morning with the hoisting of the national flags of Sri Lanka and Qatar followed by the lighting of the oil lamp.
All the participants were served the traditional Sri Lankan breakfast, a popular practice during the festive period in Sri Lanka.
Majority of the community members who trooped to the event also took the opportunity to mingle and spend time with each other while basking in the euphoria of the yearly celebration.As well as regular sports and fun activities co-ordinated by the SLCC, a few groups of people were seen enjoying, singing and dancing on the sidelines.
Community members, both males and females as well as children actively participated in sports and traditional events including track and field races like the 100m (male and female), 1500m marathon, 4x100m relay as well as volleyball, breaking the pot (male and female), lime and spoon, pillow fight, tug-of-war (male and female), raban, jana kavi, fancy dress, singithi avurudu kumari, 10m rabbit race, elephant eye, bursting of the balloon, coconut scraping, and mystery man.
Winners in each of the contests were awarded prizes sponsored by Trico International, CCU Logistics, Al Bateel Security and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment.
There was also a raffle ticket draw at the end of the programme. Spicing up the day with gigs and laughter was the famous Sri Lankan actor-cum-comedian Priyantha Senevirathne, popularly known as Benna Mama.
Ensuring enough supply of food and drink, the Sri Lankan Community Benevolent Fund (SLCBF) operated a food stall throughout the event.
“This is our fun way of celebrating Bakmaha Ulela in order to create a relaxing atmosphere and make our community members happy as they would in Sri Lanka,” SLCC president Lenny Cramer said. The main sponsor of the programme was Sampath Bank Sri Lanka and the co-sponsors were Vodafone Qatar and SriLankan Airlines.
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