Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday: Celebrating the New Year, Family, and Prayer Gatherings

In Sri Lanka, the two major ethnic groups, the Sinhalese and the Tamil, celebrate their cultural new year on April 13th and 14th, with the actual time of the arrival of the new year determined by astrologers, based on the movements of the planets, not a clock striking 12 midnight.  The old year ends at a certain time and, before the new year arrives, there is a period of in-between-time known as "nonagathe" or "punya kalaya", during which work is supposed to be stopped and people engage in joyous activities, playing games, visiting families, and attending religious ceremonies.  The cultural new year is a time of celebrations, with special foods and lots of associated rituals.  Of course, it is harder to observe these cultural traditions when one lives in another country, but I do what I can.  So, when the temple sent a message stating that they will hold New Year blessing ceremonies on Saturday morning and Sunday evening, I decided I'll attend Sunday's event.

Cousin V had called on Friday evening to say that the monthly prayer gathering will be held at the assisted living facility where her mother, my Aunt T, is currently residing, on Sunday, at 1:00 p.m.  On Saturday, cousin P called to say that she and her daughter can give me a ride to the prayer gathering.  I gratefully accepted the offer of a ride.  It was agreed that we should leave by 12:30 p.m. and I assured her that I will be ready and waiting.  This morning, I set my alarm to wake up by 9:00 a.m., had my cup of tea, responded to blog comments, etc., then, showered and got dressed.  I was dressed and ready, well before noon.  I ate a banana for breakfast and crocheted a bit.  At 12:30 p.m., when I hadn't heard from cousin P, I called her to let her know that I was ready.  It was then that she said that her daughter couldn't drive us, after all, could I drive us and could I give her 10 more minutes?  So, I waited until she came over and we left about 15 minutes later.  I didn't mind driving us, but I do dislike going late to these events.  We were the last to arrive and someone commented on it, saying that they were just about ready to send a search party for us!  

Aunt T was happy to see us all there.  Today was the anniversary of her wedding to my uncle, who was my mother's younger brother.   After the prayers were said and we had lunch (pizza and salad), we sat around, chatting.  Cousin V's husband was anxious to leave around 4:00 p.m., so it was agreed that he and R's husband should leave (R is Aunt T's niece) and I was to take cousin V, visiting cousin M, and R to cousin V's house, later.  We waited for another hour or so before we left.  Just as we were about to leave, cousin V's sister-in-law and another family friend came to visit Aunt T, so Aunt T was happy that she had more visitors.  

I drove us all to cousin V's house and she gave us tea.  After tea, I asked cousin P if she was ready to leave and she said yes.  The others were trying to persuade us to stay, but I had planned to go to the temple, so, I said I needed to leave.  Cousin P came back with me, but, she was going back with her daughter.

I got home after 6:00 p.m.  Changed out of my clothes into a white skirt and white sweater (I wear white to temple) and got to the temple in time for the ceremony.  I was very happy I was able to participate in the ceremony and receive blessings for the new year.  

After I came home, I video chatted with my daughter.  She has been down with a cold and cough this weekend and is still feeling a bit under the weather.

Today's joyful activities were attending the blessing ceremony at the temple and spending time with the family.

Today, I am grateful for:
- New Year blessings at the temple
- Time spent with family
- Being able to drive myself and give rides to others
- Having a safe home
- A really sweet letter from Aunt C

Monday's To Do List:
- Change bed sheets
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels)
- Dust living room & dining area
- Clean the fridge
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up
- Call to see if I need to report for jury duty on Tuesday
- Water the garden, front and back  the newly planted tomatoes, etc.

How was your weekend?  What are your plans for the upcoming week?


  1. I like the idea of the space between the years for celebration. Not only can you celebrate the new year coming, you can celebrate all that was good from the previous year.

    Is wearing white to temple just a thing you do or generally the expected garb for everyone?

    1. I think the space between the years is how we account for the extra quarter of a day the earth's rotation around the sun takes, which is actually 365.25 days. Whereas, in the western calendar, we have an extra day every 4 years (leap year) to account for it.

      In general, white is the color one is expected to wear to temple. There are several reasons for it: it symbolizes purity, it makes everyone equal to a certain extent as one can't tell a rich person from a poor person by attire, and, it doesn't become a distraction from worshiping, as there is no "Sunday best", there is very little in the way of adornment, and no one is looking to see what the other one is wearing. Of course, not everyone wears white and there are some, like my daughter, who maintain that it shouldn't matter what one wears to temple, as long as it is not too inappropriate, and they have a point, too. But, I tend to be old-fashioned in many ways so, I try to wear white to the temple. It helps to make me more aware of the fact that I am going to temple, not running an errand. :)

  2. I'm glad you were able to receive blessings for the New Year at the Temple last night, and glad you were able to attend the prayer gathering with your aunt on the anniversary of her wedding. It probably meant a great deal to her. It is nice that you were there for family members as well, even with the drama. It sounds like it was a very full day. Hope your daughter will be feeling better soon.

    1. Thank you, Susan. Yes, it was a full day, wasn't it? I am glad I was able to attend both prayer gatherings, the one with the family and the one at the temple. Last year, just one of them would have tired me out to the exclusion of the other. I think it shows how much I have recovered. But, I plan to take it easy, today. :)

      There's usually some drama when it comes to my family! LOL! This wasn't the first time this cousin has offered me a ride and I ended up driving us. I am not going to pretend; I have mixed feelings when certain things happen, but, I try to look for the positives and the blessings. For example, rather than grumble about having to drive us, I am glad I am capable of driving, I am able to give a ride, I have been blessed with an opportunity to be of service. :)

  3. You are right,time spent with the family is so precious☺

    1. It is, Natalia. Especially as we all get older!

  4. Is the wearing of white to the Temple a requirement of your religion or simply something that you like to do? It sounds sounds like you had a busy and tiring day so I hope you are excused jury duty so you can sleep in if you want to.

    I hope your daughter feels better soon.

    1. It was a busy day! I didn't have to go in for jury duty, today, so I get to relax. I have to call again, this evening, to see if I need to go in, tomorrow (Tuesday).

      It is recommended that we wear white to temple, as a symbol of purity, to minimize any outward distinctions of social status, and to minimize distractions. I wrote a bit more in my response above to Live and Learn. My daughter doesn't believe it should make a difference - just because one wore white to temple doesn't make one more of a Buddhist or a better Buddhist than if one wore colored clothing. But, I like to wear white to temple. I feel that I am being intentional, it is a part of my preparations for the visit, and it helps me to focus on the purpose of the visit to the temple. :)

  5. So glad you were able to get there for the ceremonies. I hate being late to things that have a definite start time - or arriving first lol. I love hearing about your traditions. It's good that you have a place, and a community, where you can enjoy and attend the ceremonies. It sounds like you have quite a bit of family nearby too.

    1. I don't like being late and as a result, I've been the first to arrive, too, which doesn't always work out, either, as, sometimes, the host isn't quite ready when I get there! LOL. But, I don't mind arriving early.

      I am very happy to have a temple close to my home. I am not quite as active at the temple as I used to be, but, I like knowing I can go there any time I want.

      Yes, I do have several family members who live nearby. Quite a contrast from when I lived in Wisconsin. It has its good points and bad! LOL. But, for the most part, it is all good. :)

  6. I don't like to be late, either. It upsets me. I'm glad you got to spend time with your family and to attend temple. I got a lot of weeding done over the weekend, and mopped the floors. Today I'm doing a load of laundry; I almost forgot!

    1. You had a very productive weekend! I think I've given up on the weeding! They seem to have taken over my yard! The garden cats are very happy, though! They get to play at being Big Cats in the Savanna as the crouch among the tall weeds and pounce on each other! :D

  7. I hope your daughter feels better soon, Bless.

    Sometimes I forget the New Year day until my mom reminds me. It happened this year as well. It's a usual work day for me.

    You are very patient and see the positive side of people who are not punctual. I wouldn't have that much patience, especially if it's not a one time event. :)

    1. Thank you, Nil. She worked from home, today, as she still didn't feel 100%.

      Yes, New Year is often a regular working day here, isn't it? But, I try to remember and observe it in some small way. :)

      Some people are habitually late! But, there have been times when I have been late, too, so I try not to get too impatient when they are late!


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