Lanka Army troops in the East began celebrating the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year with a difference this year. According to Army media, troops, in coordination with the ‘Wana Arana Foundation' and members of the Veddah (indegenous) community took part in a ‘ Bakmaha Ulela' held near the Hennanigala tank on Wednesday (14).
The events of the day saw many unique traditional games of the indigenous Vaddah community being held together with other events. The ‘Wana Arana Foundation' is dedicated to preserve age-old indigenous traditions, rites and rituals, customs, ancestral links and all related information to their heritage for posterity.A highlight of the day's events was the launch of the Foundation's website by the Army Commander, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake and the Veddah Chief, Uruwarige Wannile Ettho.
A Veddah youth, Thalawarige Punchi Banda who managed to raise eye brows at the recently concluded Ironman 70.3 Colombo triathlon race by finishing 53rd out of the 3000 athletes, including 870 foreigners from 63 countries who took part in the first ever such race in South Asia, was honored with an appreciative gift from the Army Commander who also gave the undertaking that he would be recruited to the Army Volunteer Force and afforded best athletic training to reach higher levels.
The full day programme saw a large attendance of traditionally attired, with bow and arrow et al. members of the Veddah community that attracted TV coverage by the national channel, Sri Lanka Rupavahini.Gifts and prizes were also presented to those who had won competition at the end of the day's eve