Southampton University Sri Lankan Society
Southampton University Sri Lankan Society
Southampton University Sri Lankan SocietySouthampton University Sri Lankan SocietySouthampton University Sri Lankan SocietySouthampton University Sri Lankan Society

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (Known as Ceylon before 1972) is an island nation in South Asia, located about 31 kilometers (18½ mi) off the southern coast of India. Popularly referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, it is home to around twenty million people.
Today, the country is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, with a quarter of the population following faiths other than Buddhism, notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population, with Tamil's, who are mostly concentrated in the north and east of the island, forming the largest ethnic minority. Flag of Sri LankaFamous for the production and export of tea, coffee, rubber and coconuts, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage make it a world famous tourist destination. After over two thousand years of rule by local kingdoms, parts of Sri Lanka were colonized by Portugal and the Netherlands beginning in the 16th century, before the control of the entire country was ceded to the British Empire in 1815. During World War II Sri Lanka served as an important base for Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese Empire. A natioMap of Sri Lankanalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century, with the aim of obtaining political independence, which was eventually granted by the British after peaceful negotiations in 1948. Colombo was known to ancient traders since more than 2,000 years ago. However it was only made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815, and its status as capital was retained when the nation received independence in 1948. In 1978, when administrative functions were moved to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo was designated as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka.

Name
In ancient times, Sri Lanka was known by a variety of names: ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobane and Arabs referred to it as Serendib (the origin of the word "Serendipity").Ceilão was the name given to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese when they arrived on the island in 1505, which was transliterated into English as Ceylon. In 1972, the official name of the country was changed to "Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka". For a small island, Sri Lanka has many nicknames: Serendib, Ceylon, Teardrop of India, Resplendent Isle, Island of Dharma, Pearl of the Orient. This colorful collection reveals its richness and beauty, and the intensity of the affection it evokes in its visitors.

History
The earliest-known inhabitants of the island now known as Sri Lanka were probably the ancestors of the Wanniyala-Aetto people, also known as Veddahs and numbering roughly 3,000. Sigiriya Roack FortressLinguistic analysis has found a correlation of the Sinhalese language with the languages of the Sindh and Gujarat, although most historians believe that the Sinhala community emerged well after the assimilation of various ethnic groups. Dravidian people may have begun migrating to the island from the pre-historic period.From the ancient period date some remarkable archaeological sites including the ruins of Sigiriya, the so-called " Fortress in the Sky ", and huge public works. Among the latter are large "tanks" or reservoirs, important for conserving water in a climate that alternates rainy seasons with dry times, and elaborate aqueducts, some with a slope as finely calibrated as one inch to the mile. Paintings at Sigiriya Rock Ancient Sri Lanka was also the first in the world to have established a dedicated hospital in Mihintale in the 4th century BCE. Ancient Sri Lanka was also the world's leading exporter of cinnamon, which was exported to Egypt as early as 1400 BCE. Sri Lanka was also the first Asian nation to have a female ruler in Queen Anula (47–42 BC).

Sri Lanka had always been an important port and trading post in the ancient world, and was increasingly frequented by merchant ships from the Middle East, Persia, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. The islands were known to the first European explorers of South Asia and settled by many groups of Arab and Malay merchants. A Portuguese colonial mission arrived on the island in 1505 headed by the Lourenço de Almeida the son of Francisco de Almeida.
At that point the island consisted of three kingdoms, namely Kandy in the central hills, Kotte at the Western coast, and Yarlpanam (Anglicised Jaffna) in the north. The Dutch arrived in the 17th century. Although much of the island came under the domain of European powers, the interior, hilly region of the island remained independent, with its capital in Kandy. The British East India Company established control of the island in 1796, declaring it a crown colony in 1802, although the island would not be officially connected with British India. The fall of the kingdom of Kandy in 1815 unified the island under British rule.

European colonists established a series of tea, cinnamon, rubber, sugar, coffee and indigo plantations. The British also brought a large number of indentured workers from Tamil Nadu to work in the plantation economy. The city of Colombo was established as the administrative centre, and the British established modern schools, colleges, roads and churches that brought Western-style education and culture to the native people.

Sports
While the national sport in Sri Lanka is volleyball, by far the most popular sport in the country is cricket while aquatic sports, athletics, football, tennis and rugby also enjoy extensive popularity. There are a large number of public and private sports, athletics and aquatic clubs in Colombo. Sri Lanka's schools and colleges regularly organise sports and athletics teams, competing on provincial and national levels. Aquatic sports such as boating, surfing, swimming and scuba diving on the coast, the beaches and backwaters attract a large number of Sri Lankans and foreign tourists.

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Traditional food
Sri Lankans have added western influences to the customary diet such as rice and curry, pittu (mixture of fresh rice meal, very lightlyHoppers, a Sri Lankan delicacy. roasted and mixed with fresh grated coconut, then steamed in a bamboo mould). Kiribath (cooked in thick coconut cream for this unsweetened rice-pudding which is accompanied by a sharp chili relish called "lunumiris"), wattalapam (rich pudding of Malay origin made of coconut milk, jaggery, cashew nuts, eggs, and various spices including cinnamon cloves and nutmeg), kottu, and hoppers ("appa"), batter cooked rapidly in a hot curved pan, accompanied by eggs, milk or savouries. Sri Lankan food also has Dutch and Portuguese influences, with the island's Burgher community preserving this culture through traditional favourites such as Lamprais (rice cooked in stock and baked in a banana leaf), Breudher (Dutch Christmas cake) and Bolo Fiado (Portuguese-style layer cake).

Festivals
Esala PeraheraSinhala and Tamil New Year Festival Every year on April 13th Sinhala and Tamil people celebrate, and Muslims celebrate Ramasan. Esala Perahera (A-suh-luh peh-ruh-ha-ruh) is the grand festival of Esala held in Sri Lanka. It is very grand with elegant costumes. Happening in July or August in Kandy, it has become a unique symbol of Sri Lanka. It is a Buddhist festival consisting of dances and richly-decorated elephants. There are fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandian dances and various other cultural dances. The elephants are usually adorned with lavish garments. The festival ends with the traditional 'diya-kepeema'. The elephant is paraded around the city bearing the tooth of Buddha.

 

 

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