A wet and wintery Melbourne Saturday did little to dampen the spirits of Sri Lankans and well wishers who thronged Sweeney Reserve in Berwick to usher in Sinhala Avuruddu and Tamil New year celebrations.
A capacity crowd, numbering several thousand, including celebrities, VIPS and politicians from Australian Labour and Liberal parties braved the inclement weather just to be supportive of Sri Lanka’s important cultural day in the 2022 calendar.
Acknowledgements to energetic Sri Lankans who have made major contributions to the Australian business and economic upliftment, and others in the entertainment industry, medical profession and interaction towards the assimilation of the massive expatriate population in Melbourne was made to several prominent Individuals.
Sri Lanka Counsel General Kapila Fonseka was among the chief guests at the event.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was unable to attend due to Covid-19 protocols while in isolation. But representatives from the Victorian Labour government, including Gabrielle Williams MP fo Dandenong, Pauline Richards, MP, Gary Mars, MP for Narre Warren and others including Ray De Witt .
Liberal representatives Jason Wood and Virosh Perera were also in attendance at the event.
A full day’s event put together by The Walawwa and driven by indefatigable Shehan Wijewardena, and Nash Samarakoon with input from representatives of German Technical School in Sri Lanka, was packed with several cultural events including the traditional games and the selection of the Avuruddu Kumari and Kumaraya in the adults and children’s segments.
Cultural dancers kit up the overcast and wet conditions and were a major feature of the early day celebration.
Attendees were afforded the special privilege of viewing and taking photographs with the T20 World Cup which was on display thanks to the gracious gesture of Cricket Australia.
It gave the event planned for October 16, an awareness and boost towards crowd participation especially among cricket mad Sri Lankans.
An open air musical show was planned for later in the evening.