The culture of Sri Lanka has been influenced by many things in the past. Mostly it has been influenced by religion and colonialization by the Dutch, Portuguese and the British.
The Sinhalese new year (Sinhala/tamil new year) is a very important cultural practise in the island, the festival which falls in April (the month of Bak) when the sun moves from the Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aries) Sri Lankans begin celebrating their National New Year Aluth Avurudhu in Sinhala and Puththandu in Tamil. However, unlike the usual practice where the new year begins at midnight, the National New Year begins at the time determined by the astrologers. Not only the beginning of the new year but the conclusion of the old year is also specified by the astrologers. And unlike the customary ending and beginning of new year, there is a period of a few hours in between the conclusion of the Old Year and the commencement of the New Year , which is called the "nona gathe" (neutral period). During this time one is expected to keep off from all types of work and engage solely in religious activities.
Throughout the, past centuries Sri Lanka has been going through a dramatic make over. A vast majority of the Sri Lankan community were only influenced by their own traditional food and nothing more. But, due to economical growth and intense competition in developed countries, companies have taken themselves overseas to developing nations, in an attempt to achieve a positive global presence (competitive advantage). Consequently, this method has caused a major ripple effect in countries like Sri Lanka like never before. Currently in some of the major cities in Sri Lanka you should prepare yourself to be dazzled (some may say loss of identity) by the assimilation/influence of western culture into Sri Lankan community. You can now find the presence of American taste represented by McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dominos Pizza and so on.
Tea Culture in Sri Lanka
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. It is served almost anywhere in Sri Lanka.
Religion in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's culture also revolves around religion. The Buddhist community of Sri Lanka observe Poya Days, once per month according to the Lunar calendar. The Hindus and Muslims also observe their own holidays. Sri Lankans are very religious because the history of the island has been involved with religion numerous times. There are many Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka and many mosques, Hindu temples and churches all across the island. The religious preference of an area could be determined by the number of religious institutions in the area. The North and the East of the island has many mosques and Hindu temples because a large Tamil and Muslim population resides in those areas. Many churches could be found along the southern coast line because many living in those areas are Roman Catholic or Christian. The interior of the island is mostly the Buddhist population and there are many Buddhists residing in all parts of the island because they are the largest religious group in Sri Lanka.
Sports Culture in Sri Lanka
Sports plays a very big part in Sri Lankan culture. Sri Lanka's main sport is Cricket. 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 playing 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 shut down as though there were a curfew imposed upon the whole island.
Music of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an island of the Southern coast of India. Its population is mostly Sinhalese, as well as minorities of Tamils, Burghers and the last remnants of the Veddas, the forest-dwelling aborigines 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, ukuleles 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. There are sometimes even banners saying "Ichiro! Ichiro!"
Cuisine of Sri Lanka
HoppersThe 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 dinner and lunch. A very popular alcoholic drink is toddy, 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. Many Sri Lankans eat short eats as a snack which is a variety of hamburgers, hot dogs, Chinese rolls, patties and pastries.
It also should be noted that much of Sri Lanka's urban areas now are filled with many American fast food corporations, such as McDonald's. Although many, especially elders and those who stubbornly stick to their cultural cuisine, reject this, many of the younger generation have started to take a liking to this new American cuisine.