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Culture Of Sri Lanka

The culture of Sri Lanka has been influenced by many factors but has managed to retain much of its ancient aspects. Mostly it has been influenced by its long history and its diversity of religious beliefs. The country has a rich artistic tradition, embracing the fine arts, including music, dance, and visual arts. Sri Lankan lifestyle is reflected in the cuisine, festivals, and sports. South Indian influences are visible in many aspects. There is also some influences from colonization by the Dutch, the Portuguese, and the British. Sri Lankan culture is best known abroad for its cricket, food, holistic medicine, religious icons like the Buddhist flag and Yogaswami and cultural exports such as tea. Sri Lankan culture is diverse, as it varies from region to region.

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History Of Sri Lanka

The History of Sri Lanka begins around 30,000 years ago when the island was first inhabited. Chronicles, including the Mahawansa, the Dipavamsa, the Culavamsa and the Rajaveliya, record events from the beginnings of the Sinhalese monarchy in the 6th century BC; through the arrival of European Colonialists in the 16th century; and to the disestablishment of the monarchy in 1815. Some mentions of the country are found in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the books of Gautama Buddha's teachings. Buddhism was introduced in the 3rd century BC by Arhath Mahinda (son of the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great).
From the 16th century some coastal areas of the country were ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Sri Lanka was ruled by 181 kings from the Anuradhapura to Kandy periods. [1] After 1815 the entire nation was under British colonial rule and armed uprisings against the British took place in the 1818 Uva Rebellion and the 1848 Matale Rebellion. Independence was finally granted in 1948 but the country remained a Dominion of the British Empire.

In 1972 Sri Lanka assumed the status of a Republic. A constitution was introduced in 1978 which made the Executive President the head of state. The Sri Lankan Civil War began in 1983, including an armed youth uprising in 1987–1989, with the 25 year-long civil war ending in 2009.

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Visual Arts

Architecture

Main articles: Architecture of Sri Lanka and Architecture of ancient Sri Lanka
See also: List of Sri Lankan architects

The architecture of Sri Lanka displays a rich variety of architectural forms and styles. Buddhism had a significant influence on Sri Lankan architecture, since it was introduced to the island in 3rd Century BCE.However techniques and styles developed in Europe and the Asia have also played a major role in the architecture of Sri Lanka.

Arts and crafts

Many forms of Sri Lankan arts and crafts take inspiration from the Island's long and lasting Buddhist culture which in turn has absorbed and adopted countless regional and local traditions. In most instances Sri Lankan art originates from religious beliefs, and are represented in many forms such as painting, sculpture, and architecture. One of the most notable aspects of Sri Lankan art are caves and temple paintings, such as the frescoes found in Sigiriya and religious paintings found in temples in Dambulla and Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. Other popular forms of art have been influenced by both natives as well as outside settlers. For example, traditional wooden handicrafts and clay pottery are found around the hill country while Portuguese-inspired lacework and Indonesian-inspired Batik have become notable.

 
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Performing Arts

Dance

Main article: Dances of Sri Lanka
See also: Kandyan dance

Music

Main article: Music of Sri Lanka
The two single biggest influences on Sri Lankan music are from Buddhism and Portuguese colonizers. Buddhism arrived in Sri Lanka after the Buddha's visit in 300 BC, while the Portuguese arrived in the 15th century, bringing with them cantiga ballads, the ukulele, and guitars, along with African slaves, who further diversified the musical roots of the island. These slaves were called kaffrinha, and their dance music was called baila. Traditional Sri Lankan music includes the hypnotic Kandyan drums - drumming was and is very much a part and parcel of music in both Buddhist and Hindu temples in Sri Lanka.

Cinema

Main article: Cinema of Sri Lanka
The movie Kadawunu Poronduwa (The broken promise), produced by S. M. Nayagam of Chitra Kala Movietone, heralded the coming of Sri Lankan cinema in 1947. Ranmuthu Duwa (Island of treasures, 1962) marked the transition cinema from black-and-white to color. It in the recent years has featured subjects such as family melodrama, social transformation, and the years of conflict between the military and the LTTE. Their cinematic style is similar to the Bollywood movies. In 1979, movie attendance rose to an all-time high, but recorded a gradual downfall since then. Undoubtedly, the most influential and revolutionary filmmaker in the history of Sri Lankan cinema is Lester James Peiris, who has directed a number of movies which led to global acclaim, including Rekava (Line of destiny, 1956), Gamperaliya (The changing village, 1964), Nidhanaya (The treasure, 1970), and Golu Hadawatha (Cold Heart, 1968).

 

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Lifestyle

Cuisine

Main article: Sri Lankan cuisine
The cuisine of Sri Lanka draws influence from that of India, as well as colonists and foreign traders. Rice, which is usually consumed daily, can be found at any special occasion, while spicy curries are favourite dishes for lunch and dinner. A very popular alcoholic drink is toddy or arrack, both made from palm tree sap. Rice and curry refers to a range of Sri Lankan dishes. Sri Lankans also eat hoppers which can be found anywhere in Sri Lanka.
Much of Sri Lanka's cuisine consists of boiled or steamed rice served with curry. Another well-known rice dish is kiribath, meaning milk rice. Curries in Sri Lanka are not just limited to meat or fish-based dishes, there are also vegetable and even fruit curries. A typical Sri Lankan meal consists of a "main curry" (fish, chicken, or mutton), as well as several other curries made with vegetable and lentils. Side-dishes include pickles, chutneys and "sambols" which can sometimes be fiery hot. The most famous of these is the coconut sambol, made of ground coconut mixed with chillies, dried Maldivian fish and lime juice. This is ground to a paste and eaten with rice, as it gives zest to the meal and is believed to increase appetite.
In addition to sambols, Sri Lankans eat "mallung", chopped leaves mixed with grated coconut and red onions. Coconut milk is found in most Sri Lankan dishes to give the cuisine its unique flavor.
As noted above many of Sri Lanka's urban areas are host to American fast food corporations and many of the younger generation have started to take a liking to this new style of cuisine although it is rejected by many, particularly the more traditional elder members of the community.

Spices

Sri Lanka has long been renowned for its spices. In the 15th and 16th centuries, traders from all over the world who came to Sri Lanka brought their native cuisines to the island, resulting in a rich diversity of cooking styles and techniques. Lamprais rice boiled in stock with a special curry, accompanied by frikkadels (meatballs), all of which is then wrapped in a banana leaf and baked as a Dutch-influenced Sri Lankan dish. Dutch and Portuguese sweets also continue to be popular. British influences include roast beef and roast chicken. Also, the influence of the Indian cooking methods and food have played a major role in what Sri Lankans eat.

Sri Lankans use spices liberally in their dishes and typically do not follow an exact recipe: thus, every cook's curry will taste slightly different. Furthermore, people from different regions of the island (for instance, hill-country dwellers versus coastal dwellers) traditionally cook in different ways. Sri Lankan cuisine is known to be among the world's spiciest, due to the high use of different varieties of chillies referred to as amu miris, kochchi miris, and maalu miris (capsicum) and in Tamil Milakaai, among others. It is generally accepted for tourists to request that the food is cooked with a lower chillie content to cater for the more sensitive Western pallette. Food cooked for public occasions typically uses less chillie than food cooked in the home, the latter where the food is cooked with the chillie content preferable to the occupants.

Tea culture

Being one of the largest producers of tea in the world, Sri Lankans drink a lot of tea. Many Sri Lankans drink at least three cups a day. Sri Lanka is also one of the best tea-producing countries in the world and the Royal Family of the United Kingdom has been known to drink Ceylon tea. Tea is served whenever a guest comes to a house, it is served at festivals and gatherings or just for breakfast.

Festivals and holidays

New Year

Main article: Sinhala and Tamil new year

The Sinhala and Tamil new year ("Aluth Avurudhu" in Sinhala, "Puthiyathandu" in Tamil) is a very large cultural event on the island. The festival falls in April (also known as the month of Bak) when the sun moves from the Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aries). Unusually, both the end of one year and the beginning of the next occur not at midnight but at separate times determined by astrologers with a period of some hours between (the "nona gathe" or neutral period) being a time where one is expected to refrain from all types of work and instead engage solely in relaxing religious activities and traditional games. During the New Year, festivities both children and adults will often don traditional outfits. But the clothes must be washed and very clean because it should be southam (pure).
There are many other celebrations, like Christmas.

Religion

Main article: Religion in Sri Lanka
See also:

Hinduism in Sri Lanka, Buddhism in Sri Lanka,and Islam in Sri Lanka

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Sports Of Sri Lanka

Main article: Sport in Sri Lanka
Cricket in Sri Lanka
Sports plays a very big part in Sri Lankan culture, because the society was quite rich in educated people, therefore the people had found playing a sport is an important thing in life. Sri Lanka's main sport is cricket. But after the age of Englishmen's cricket, being the most popular sport event in Sri Lanka. Every child in Sri Lanka knows how to play cricket, and there are many cricket fields scattered across the island for children and adults to play the sport. The biggest pastime of the Sri Lankan population, after cricket, is watching the Sri Lankan national team play cricket. It is common for businesses to shut down, when very big matches are televised. This was the case in 1996, when the Sri Lankan team beat Australia in the finals to win the Cricket World Cup. The whole country was shut down, although there were a curfew imposed upon the whole island.

Cricket

Main article: Cricket in Sri Lanka
Cricket is the most popular sport in Sri Lanka. After the 1996 Cricket World Cup, triumph of the Sri Lanka national cricket team, the sport became the most watched event in the country. But in recent years, the politicians and the businessman getting into the sport has raised many concerns.

Volleyball

Volleyball is the national sport in Sri Lanka.

Football

Main article: Football in Sri Lanka

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