President Rajapaksa presides over the New Year National Oil Anointing ceremony
By Janaka Alahapperuma
Apr 17, 2014
The traditional Oil Anointing State Ceremony for the Sinhala and Hindu New Year was held this morning (16 April) at the Yatawatta Raja Maha Viharaya premises in Kossinna, Ganemulla at Gampaha under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Chief Sangha Nayake of Siyane Korale Venerable Thorapitiye Ananda Nayaka Thero. The President performed the oil anointing ritual at the auspicious time of 11.16 am at the special podium. The state ceremony of anointing oil was organized by the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine with the guidance of the Maha Sanga.
Chief Incumbent of the Viharaya Venerable Udugampola Gunananda Nayaka Thero performed the rituals by anointing oil on the President’s head and blessed him amidst Pirith chanting. As instructed by the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Ayurveda, Sinhala New Year Auspicious Times Committee and astrologers, oil anointing was performed by facing the South direction and standing on ‘Kolon’ leaves under a canopy of ‘Kohomba’ leaves and attired in greenish colour. ‘Nanu’ oil was anointed with a mixture of Kohomba leaves. Thereafter, anointing ceremony was conducted on behalf of Ministers and MPs as well as general public fulfilling the centuries old traditions. The President was engaged in anointing on elephants.
The Nayaka Thero said that the anointing of oil for the New Year is one of the main traditions specialised to Sri Lankans. The prelate said that the meaning of this oil anointing tradition is actually wishing a healthy life for next year. He said that it could also be mentioned as a tradition linked to the natural environment. Addressing the ceremony, President Rajapaksa said that oil anointing ritual has being performed since ancient time with the objective of giving mental strength for building the nation. He said that this is also a good opportunity to get a consolation. Deputy Minister Pandu Bandaranayake, Chief Minister of the Western Province, Prasanna Ranatunga, many local politicians, several invited guests and officials were amongst a large number of people who were present at the ceremony.
Meanwhile many functions were organized countrywide to mark the anointing of oil for the New Year. Ministry of Indigenous Medicine announced all traditional herbals and creams required for the Oil Anointing ritual have been distributed freely throughout the country to 10,000 Buddhist temples and 15,000 registered Indigenous Physicians. Public are requested to get them from the nearest temple or the Ayurveda doctor in their areas.
In parallel to the National oil anointing ceremony, large crowd was present at the Natha Devala premises of the Sri Dalada Maligawa to perform the annual oil anointing ritual. Resident monks of the Asgiriya and Malwatta Chapters anointed devotees with oil and also anointed oil on the heads of the tuskers of Sri Dalada Maligawa. Devotees visited the Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya temple this morning for the oil anointing ceremony.
The oil anointing tradition of the indigenous community took place at the Kotabakiniya village in Mahiyangana. The function was organized under the patronage of the Veddah Chief Uruvarige Wannila-eththo. It’s only this oil anointing tradition that the indigenous community engages in New Year.
The ceremony of oil anointing was held for over 100 elephants at the Pinnawala orphanage. All elephants and calves in the orphanage were treated with fruits and special leafy diet. Another oil anointing ceremony took place at the Dehiwela National Zoo. While herbal oil was first anointed on the elephants, the other animals were also anointed with oil thereafter.
Pix by: Sudath Silva
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