27 July 2017, Thursday
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About: Sri Lanka

Climate

Sri Lanka is tropical, with distinct dry and wet seasons. The seasons are slightly complicated by having two monsoons. From May to August the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwestern half, while the dry season here lasts from December to March. The southwest has the highest rainfall – up to 4000mm a year. The Maha monsoon blows from October to January, bringing rain to the North and East, while the dry season is from May to September. The North and East are comparatively dry, with around 1000mm of rain annually. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain can occur in many parts of the island.

Festivals

Sri Lanka’s ancient civilisation endows the island with a legacy of colourful national and religious festivals. Hardly a month goes by without a unique celebration of diverse cultures and religions, celebrated with flair by Sri Lankans with a genius for pageantry and ceremony Vesak is full moon day in May is of great significance to Buddhists throughout the world. It marks the birth of the Prince Siddhartha, his attaining enlightenment and passing into Nibbana as Gauthama Buddha. Kandy Perahera takes place in July/August depending on the full moon. There are also religious celebrations held simultaneously in many parts of the island, which include Kataragama, Devinuvara and Kotte. Kataragama Perahera in the south-east corner of the island is a jungle shrine dedicated to the God Skanda. It attracts thousands of Hindus and Buddhists, many of whom make the pilgrimage on foot from as far afield as Jaffna in Sri Lanka’s northern peninsula.

Gastronomy

Famous food of Sri Lanka includes Curry Leaves which are picked from a tree related to the citrus family, curry leaves are often fried in oil before using in curries and chutneys. Drumsticks which is a long, ridged dark green pod with a slightly bitter flavour which is a popular ingredient in vegetable curries, particularly kiri hodi or white curry.Green Chillies are renowned for their heat. Sri Lankan food uses several types of chillies for blisteringly hot curries and zingy sambals. Red Lentils for a partially vegetarian population, pulses are a key element in the Sri Lankan diet. Dhal is eaten with most meals and always with curry and rice. The coconut palm is referred to in Sinhalese as a gift of the gods. Every part of the tree is used – in building, for utensils, right down to the milk, the oil and of course the flesh. Spiced, dried, smoked and finely shaved bonito, Maldive fish is the shrimp paste or fish sauce equivalent for Sri Lankan cuisine. It is a key ingredient in the essential pol (coconut) and seeni sambols and is also sparingly used as a thickening agent in curries. A rice native to Sri Lanka, the samba rice grain is approximately 1/3 the size of basmati and has a distinctive flavour and aroma deemed by locals to be an acquired taste. Nutritionally, it's hard texture results in a denser and more filling meal than most other varieties.

Geography

Sri Lanka is situated on the south eastern part of Asia. If you look at the map of Sri Lanka, you will see that this island country is situated just in the center of the Indian Ocean. In fact, Sri Lanka is also known as surrounded on all its side by the Indian Ocean. This island has the Bay of Bengal to its south west and the Arabian Sea on the south west. Sri Lanka is situated in great geographical proximity to India. It is separated from India by the narrow Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait. The total land area of Sri Lanka is estimated to be 65,610 sq km.

History

Sri Lanka began in the 6th century B.C.E when the Sinhalese migrated to the island from India. Around 300 years later, Buddhism spread to Sri Lanka which led to highly organized Sinhalese settlements in the northern portion of the island from 200 B.C.E to 1200 C.E. Following this period were invasions from southern India which caused the Sinhalese to migrate south. In addition to early settlement by the Sinhalese, Sri Lanka was inhabited between the 3rd century B.C.E and 1200 C.E. by the Tamils who are the second-largest ethnic group on the island. The Tamils, who are predominantly Hindu, migrated to Sri Lanka from the Tamil region of India. During the early settlement of the island, Sinhalese and Tamil rulers frequently fought for dominance over the island. This led to the Tamils claiming the northern part of the island and the Sinhalese controlling the south to which they migrated.

Population

Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean also called Ceylon and many other names. Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia. The last total population of Sri Lanka is estimated to be 20,926,315. It is important to know about the population growth rate of Sri Lanka, which is 0.982 %. However, it is important to note that the rate of population growth is higher in the southwestern and northeastern part of the country. The estimated birth rate is 17 births/1,000 populations while the death rate is 6.01 deaths/1,000 populations. 1.16 migrants/1,000 populations is the net migration rate of Sri Lanka which is also an important factor affecting Sri Lanka Population. The maximum life expectancy rate is 74.8 years. The total rate of infant mortality in Sri Lanka is 19.45 deaths/1,000 populations. Literacy rate of Sri Lanka is 92.3 %.

Religion

Sri Lanka's population practices a variety of religions. Sri Lankans includes Theravada Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians (Roman Catholic and other Christian). Sri Lanka's culture also revolves around religion. The Buddhist community of Sri Lanka observes Poya Days, once per month according to the Lunar calendar. The Hindus and Muslims also observe their own holidays. Sri Lankans are very religious because the history of the island has been involved with religion numerous times. There are many Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka associated with ancient times. The religious preference of an area could be determined by the number of religious institutions in the area. The North and the East of the island has several notable Hindu temples due to majority Tamil population reside in those areas and ethnic conflict has severely affected other communities living on these areas during the times of LTTE strife. Many churches could be found along the southern coast line because of former Roman Catholic or Protestant colonial heritage. Buddhists reside in all parts of the island especially down south and in upcountry and western seaboard. They are the largest religious group in Sri Lanka.