April is always the month for food, fun, and festival in Sri Lanka. The first sound that everyone in the island hears every morning must be Ku-Koo by the Keol or Raban Music and in the evenings it must the loud sound of bursting crackers. It’ all about our new year celebrations.
Sri Lankans celebrate Tamil Sinhala New Year one the first day of Chitthirai month as in Tamil calendar or Bak month as in Sinhalese calendar. Usually, it falls during the mid of April in the Georgian calendar. The celebrations mark the beginning of the new year and ending of the harvesting activities for the season. It is a belief among both the races that un travels from the of Meena (Pisces) to Mesha (Aries). In the local language, it is called Puththandu or Aluth Awurudu.
For kids, its always the best part of the year. At school and institution, we used to have multiple events for the new year celebrations. Pillow Fight, Eating the buns, Lemon & Spoon, Elephant Eyes, and Mr & Mrs Awurudu are some of the traditional activities conducted at the schools. I have always been a participant in eating the buns. ;P
On new year’s eve, we used to collect Maruthu Neer (Medicinal Water) from the local temple. We used to apply it on our head before going for the bath. It was our belief that maruthu neer cleans our body from the sins we had done and gives us a rebirth. At our home, my mother used to begin making traditional Tamil and Sinhalese sweets & savories like Athirasam, Rava Laddu, Mung Kevum, Dodol, Murukku, Pol Toffee, and Milk Toffee to share with our family friends and neighbors at least a week before the new year’s day. We relished the full course vegetarian meal of our mother on this day with all the six tastes. That meal always indicated the acceptance of life with happiness and sorrows. Our father used to give us a sum of money in the name of Kai Vishesham, which we immediately drop in our piggy bank. In the evening we used to join with our cousins and father for firing the crackers. Those days are some of the unforgettable memories of our childhood.
Though the practices among Tamils and Sinhalese are different, festival food is something keeps both the groups connected. Kiribath is one such. Karibath is a rice dish made with coconut milk. It is a staple breakfast food at any occasions or celebrations in Sri Lanka. We serve it with accompaniments like Katta Sambol, Seeni Sambol, and Pol Pani. Let’s see how to make this festive breakfast.
Wish you a prosperous and happiest Tamil Sinhala New Year!
- Raw Rice - 200 gm
- Thick Coconut Milk - 300 ml
- Thin Coconut Milk - 150 ml
- Water - As Required - 800 ml
- Salt - 01 tablespoon
- Wash the rice and soak in water for 20 minutes.
- In a pot fetch 800 ml of water and boil it. Add the rice & salt and cook it until it becomes mushy.
- Once the rice is cooked, mash it a little and add thin coconut milk. Cook until it becomes thick like porridge.
- Add the thick coconut milk and cook until rice starts sticking together.
- Transfer the cooked rice to a tray and level it will a banana leaf.
- Let it set and cut it into pieces like a cake. Serve with Katta Sambol and Kithul Pani.
Kiribath can also be made with red rice. The rice should be mushy and sticky. Do not add too much of coconut milk. Let it set completely. Do not cut before it sets.