Who are you, Sri Lanka?

Who are you, Sri Lanka?

Our little island celebrates 72 years of freedom today!

Ceylon became indie on 4th February 1948, saying bye bye to the Brits after 152 years.

Before that, the island was ruled by the Portuguese (1505-1658) and the Dutch (1658-1796)The French stopped by, before saying au revoir to the tropical harbours after just a few months. #BoredAndChaud

Say my name, say my name

It was only in 1972 that we became a republic and was called ‘The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka’.

Before that, everyone had a name for their favourite island muse – 

  • ‘Serendip’ to early Arabs and Persians
  • ‘Taprobane’ to the Ancient Greeks 
  • ‘Teardrop nation’ to the Ancient Egyptians
  • ‘Ceilao’ to the Portuguese
  • Ceylon to the tea hub of the British colony 

And we will forever be proud of this descriptive moniker: “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean”.

I am flag, hear me roar

Inheriting its design from 2,600 years ago, the Sri Lankan flag is the world’s oldest! 

It celebrates diversity and national cultural pride:

  • The Lion – strength and perseverance
  • 4 bo leaves – Fundamental principles – Mettha (loving kindness), Karuna (compassion), Upeksha (equanimity) and Muditha (happiness).
  • Maroon – Sinhalese; Orange- Hindu, Green – Muslim; Yellow border – all other ethnic minorities

25 cultural/public holidays a year (second only to Cambodia), ain’t no party like a Sri Lankan party!

  • Vesak – Celebrating the Birth, Enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha 
  • Esala maha Perahera – Cultural exhilaration of music and dance.
  • Sinhala and Tamil New Year – Food and Games bridging families and friends
  • Vel festival – Dedicated to the god of war, Skanda, celebrated by the Hindu community in colombo 
  • Pada Yatra – foot pilgrimage from the Jaffna Peninsula of the North to the shrine of Kataragama in the South.

We are flavour – the best cinnamon on earth is grown here. 

We are teatime – Sri Lanka started by growing coffee, but the crop went bust overnight in the late 1800s. In true SL spirit, we bounced back about 10 years later – and now we grow the world’s best teas. 

We keep you warm – not just with our iconic smiles and signature hospitality, but also with clothes! Sri Lanka produces apparel for some of the biggest brands on the planet.

Sweet to your tooth, bomb to your tongue

Sri Lanka is by definition hipster – we cooked dairy-free, fresh and meatless goodies long before it was #Instafamous. 

It’s basically vegan paradise with flavour extremes.

  • Rice and Curry – eaten everyday, it’s rich with coconut milk, lots of slow-cooked veggies and delicious, almost-raw sides
  • Isso Wade – our beachy version of a South Indian snack, topped with crunchy veggies and a tangy secret sauce that will both delight and hurt.
  • Kottu – another shout-out to our Indian neighbours, this is the island’s favourite late-night post-party food.
  • Hoppers – a best-of-both worlds crisp and soft crepe that is its own bowl.
  • Sweet meats – meaty, mushy, melty and delicious! These robust snacks are inspired from all over the world, are mostly grain-based and always hand-made, sweetened with treacle, so it’s deliciously distinct. 

65,000 km of well, hello there gorgeous

Mountains to beaches in 2-4 hours? Can’t get that anywhere else.

Sri Lanka is basically a sample-size of every adventure.

  • Sigiriya – the birthplace of family drama, this 8th wonder of the world has it all – sibling rivalries, daddy issues, sultry ladies and your very own fortress.
  • Kandy – the last kingdom of Sri Lanka is home to the tooth relic of the Lord Buddha.
  • Yala – the island is home to the largest population of Asian elephants in the wild. We’ve also got leopards, bears, peacocks and thousands of gorgeous exotic birds for variety as well.
  • Whale Watching – Did you know that the reason we have our majestic blue whales all year-round is because they can’t communicate with whales anywhere else to migrate? So they stick to these shores, and serenade us for 365 days. #FamJam
  • Adam’s Peak –  a one-for-all and all-for-one place of worship.

The giant footprint atop the cone-shaped mountain is sacred to all religions.

Buddhists believe it belongs to the Lord Buddha. Hindus believe it’s Hanuman or Shiva. In Islamic and Christian traditions – it’s evidence of Adam.

Spend freely this independence day with bundles of happiness! 

Amaani Inthikab

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