Sri Lanka Embassy in South Korea celebrates Sri Lanka’s 64th years of independence
BY Embassy of Sri Lanka, South Korea
Feb 10, 2011
On the 5th of February 2012, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in South Korea organized its first ever large-scale Independence Day Celebration since its establishment in 1987.
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Seoul celebrated this 64th Anniversary in a glamorous manner along with the many Sri Lankans living in the community.
The first programme of the celebrations took place at the Embassy on Saturday, 4th February and was attended by the Embassy staff and their family members. It was a multi-religious event represented by the four main religions in Sri Lanka, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. The proceedings commenced with the hoisting of the national flag by Ambassador Tissa Wijeratne and the recital of the national anthem. Two minutes of silence was observed to honour the national heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country, its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Following the lighting of the traditional oil lamp, religious observances were held. The Buddhist religious observances were conducted by Ven. Dr. Welanhinne Wachissara Thero and Ven. Seelaratana Thero, the Hindu religious observances were conducted by Mrs. G. Kugathasan, the Islamic religious observances by Mr. Moulavi Faizal and the Christian religious observances by Pastor Surangika Fernando.
On the subsequent day, February 5th, the second part of the celebrations began at the Olympic Memorial Hall in Ansan City which is situated 35 kilometres away from the capital city of Seoul. Ansan, one of the major industrial cities in South Korea with a population of 720,000 residents, hosts more than 4000 Sri Lankan migrant workers. Thus, it was selected to celebrate the 64th Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka and marked the first ever Independence Day held outside Seoul.
The Mayor of Ansan City, members of the Ansan City Council, the Migrant Support Centre in South Korea including the Ansan City Migrant Centre, and the Lanka & International Food Imports Company in Ansan and also the members of Sri Lankan Associations in South Korea and the Ansan United Independent Association were greatly appreciated for their countless efforts in organizing this successful event.
Amid snow-covered streets and bone-chilling winter temperatures, around 1000 participants attended including Deputy Mayor of Ansan City, Mr. Jeong, Seung-Bong and Ambassador Park Hae-Yun, Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade of the Republic of Korea who were the Guests of Honour. Senior government officials, members of business community interested in Sri Lanka, officials of migrant centres, media organizations, Korean friends of Sri Lanka, members of the Sri Lanka community and music lovers were also associated with the event to showcase Sri Lanka’s relationship with South Korea at its best.
The day’s events started with a reception hosted by the Sri Lankan Community where traditional Sri Lankan food was served. The programme consisted of two sections, the Official Programme and the Cultural Programme.
The Official Programme started with the hoisting of the national flag by Ambassador Wijeratne, the singing of the National Anthem and the lighting of the traditional oil lamp. The Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Christian religious observances were conducted respectively, to invoke blessings upon the President, Sri Lanka and its people. His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s message for the Independence Day was recited by the diplomatic officers of the Embassy.
In his address to the guests, Ambassador Wijeratne stated:
“This is the first ever large-scale Independence Day celebration organized by the Embassy of Sri Lankan in South Korea since its establishment in 1987. On this historic day, we remember with gratitude and honour the Sri Lankans from all ethnic communities who led the struggles and made many sacrifices to obtain freedom from colonial domination.
It is fitting that we pay generous tribute to our heroic forces for the sacrifices they have made and the courage and determination they have demonstrated, in eradicating terrorism and protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. On this historic event, we also hail the courageous leadership of His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa who heads our nation Sri Lanka which is the most liberalized economy in the South Asia.”
Ambassador further appealed to the Sri Lankan community to conduct their affairs in South Korea in a respectable manner, for their own and for the benefit of their motherland.
The colourful cultural programme began with traditional dances led by the members of the State Dance Troupe who performed remarkably with the melody of Sri Lankan drums and traditional music. The members of the Prathibha Kala Cultural Association of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) also entertained the audience. The cultural programme amply demonstrated the talent of the young Sri Lankans in Ansan area and their eagerness to promote Sri Lanka here in Korea.
The guests also had the opportunity to transcend to a higher level of entertainment through the performance by renowned Sri Lankan singer Visharada Deepika Priyadarshani which was a significant part of the cultural programme and was held to coincide with the official ceremony of the celebration of the 64th Independence Day.
The ceremony adorned the culture and traditions of Sri Lanka and most importantly the country’s Independence Day was celebrated with the genuine contribution of Sri Lankan migrant workers who are temporarily way from their motherland. Their patriotic spirit weaved among the attendees and heightened the day’s wondrous celebrations.