Goulburn Valley Sri Lankan Musical Night was held in the evening of Sunday 11th of December 2016 at the African House which was organised by the Ethnic Council of Shepparton & District. Approximately 80 people gathered at St Paul’s African house to experience the richness of Sri Lankan Culture.
Sri Lankan Musical and Cultural Evening
As per the Sri Lankan Tradition the distinguished guests were welcomed and accompanied to the hall by the Tiya Dance Troupe which was awarded the Best Sri Lankan dancing group 2015 By Serendib Awards. The event was graced by the distinguished presence of Suzanna Sheed – Local Member of Parliament, Cr Chris Hazelman – Councillor and the Manager of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton, Adrian Appo OAM – Visionary Leader, Social Entrepreneur and Indigenous leader (with Sri Lankan Heritage), Superintendent Mick Sayer – Divisional Commander, Victoria Police and Alice Su – Miss Australia International 2017.
To formally commence the proceedings, the distinguished guests performed another ancient tradition – lighting the oil lamp. The traditional oil lamp is lit at all the important occasions in Sri Lanka to symbolise light of hope and unfolding prosperity.
Sam Atukorala from Ethnic Council was the MC for the night and the welcome speech was delivered by Dr Suresh Jayasundera – President of the Goulburn Valley Sri Lankan Association. Local representative of the Victorian Parliament – Suzanna Sheed – also addressed the event.
The performances captivated the audience from the opening dance itself and “Tiya Dance Troupe” performed four traditional Sri Lankan dances during the evening.
The “RYDMA Live Band” one of the leading Sri Lankan bands in Melbourne entertained the assembled guests and invitees throughout the night.
The Traditional Oil Lamp
Light symbolises the absence of darkness, grief & unhappiness. Hence, it is a Sri Lankan tradition to light a lamp first before starting any auspicious event or ritual. Light also symbolises knowledge. Which is why in almost all inaugural functions we light the Kuthu vilakku (vilakku meaning ‘deepam’ or ‘lamp’), a type of oil lamp with 5 to 9 spouts, symbolising knowledge removing ignorance as light removes darkness.
Buddhists perform the Sri Lankan oil lamp ceremony to “acquire merit or to avert evil influence.” As “Buddha is regarded as the dispeller of the darkness of ignorance,” believers offer lighted lamps in his name. The offering of lighted lamps, which usually contain coconut oil, has been an important ritual in Sri Lanka since ancient times and continues until the present day.
Buddhist temples have a sheltered platform and special lamp stands that hold lighted oil lamps. The dolosmahe-pahana (12-month lamp) burns all year round.
Buddhists make special light offerings to commemorate special occasions such as Full Moon or Vesak Day (Buddha’s birthday). According to “Ira Handa: Sri Lanka Wedding Guidance,” couples light the traditional oil lamp to symbolize a bright future.
Specimens of the Bo-tree, under which the Buddha gained enlightenment, also received illumination, as Robert Knox describes in An Historical Relation of Ceylon (1682): “There are many of these trees, which they plant all the land over. They pave around them, sweep often under them to keep them clean; they light lamps, and set up their images under them.”
The ceremony is associated with the sacred Bodhi tree, under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. Believers light lamps under the tree in memory of the Buddha’s enlightenment and as a way of attaining wisdom.
Merit (Pali: punna: Sinh.: pin) earned by the performance of a wholesome act is regarded as a sure way of obtaining a better life in the future. The performance of these is also a means of expiation in the sense that the meritorious deeds have the effect of countering and hindering the operation of unwholesome kamma previously acquired and inherited. Thus the range of merit is very wide. Source: Buddhist Ceremonies and Rituals of Sri Lanka