Although Sri Lanka celebrates January 1st as a New Year from a western or international perspective the proper Sinhalese and Tamil New Year (avurudu), is celebrated about the 13th – 14th of April. This is a very special time in Sri Lanka. The larders are full since the harvest has just been collected, the trees are full of flowers, the homes are freshly painted and it is time for festivities.
The precise times when the old year ends, and the new year begins, (most times the two does not coincide) are calculated by astronomers, and is generally announced by the peal of temple bells. Everything during this time must be performed at precise times (nakatha), and in the prescribed way.
The lighting first fire in the hearth, start of work, first transaction, first application of oil to hair, first meal, to name a few. In between these rituals, the time is spent playing games, visiting friends and relatives, enjoying the many sweets that are made for the occasion, and generally having a great time.