Seeing in new year in style with Ballarat’s Sri Lankan community

While most Ballarat residents were dreading the arrival of the rain at the weekend, the city’s Sri Lankan community was celebrating the arrival of a new year.   

Bringing in new year: Thamadee Ranatunga, 14, entertains the crowds with traditional dance at Saturday's Sri Lankan New Year celebrations held at the Ballarat South Community Hub. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Bringing in new year: Thamadee Ranatunga, 14, entertains the crowds with traditional dance at Saturday's Sri Lankan New Year celebrations held at the Ballarat South Community Hub. Picture: Lachlan Bence

More than 100 people experienced the colour and fun of the island nation’s biggest annual celebration at the Ballarat South Community Hub on Saturday afternoon, the Sri Lankan New Year. 

The annual festival historically has been a time for rejuvenation, where families repaint their houses and children a given new clothes to mark a fresh start. 

Sri Lankan Association of Ballarat secretary Mahinda Jayasooriya said the traditional festival was a celebration of the end of the harvest season. 

“It’s about promoting harmony; previous wrongs are forgiven and gifts are exchanged,” Mr Jayasooriya said. 

“It’s a relaxing time where people play traditional games and there’s lots of traditional Sri Lankan food.”

The event was the association’s first official function after forming earlier this year.  About 30 Sri Lankan families call Ballarat home.