Saturday, February 25, 2012

Navam Perahera and the Foundation of Goodness Part 1

The last few weeks here in Sri Lanka have been interesting.  I've actually been busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest with my business, but Shari and I have managed to still find time to relax and explore the city while experiencing the new, exciting and sometimes frustrating things that make up life here in Sri Lanka.  I've chosen to highlight two of our best experiences since my last blog, but I figured it would be easier to do that in a two part post, rather than making you all grind through another monster post.  By the way, as I type, the little Hellion kid next door is once again screaming at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason.  Since the houses here are very close together, it is not uncommon have windows of adjoining houses face each other in extremely close proximity.  Luckily for me, the shower room of the screaming banshee kid is right next to my office window, so I get the pleasure of hearing his window shattering yelling all day long, especially when he is having a morning shower.  Oh the joy of an undisciplined child!

But I digress.  Let's get back to the point of this post-elephants.  A lot of elephants.  A few weeks ago marked the monthly Buddhist holy day of Poya.  You probably remember my explanation of Poya in earlier posts, but for those of you with really bad memories like me, Poya is an actual public holiday that falls on the day of the full moon each month.  Since Sri Lanka's predominant religion is Buddhism, the government recognizes the holy day by giving everyone the day off.  One thing about this country, they know how to maximize their time off through public holidays.  A few weeks ago, business took a half day on Friday, then Monday and Tuesday off.  I'm not sure what was going down on Friday, but people got off on Monday in recognition of the profit Mohammad's birthday on Sunday, then got Tuesday off for Poya.  It is good to have officially recognized religious diversity in your country, especially if you don't like your job!

Anyway, back to the elephants.  Poya in the month of February is especially awesome because that is when the Navam Perahera occurs.  I still don't know a lot about Perahera's, but I do know they include a lot of elephants.  I stole the following excerpt from some official looking website on the Internet to explain Navam Perahera since I figured that would be better than me trying to look like I know what the hell I'm talking about.  According to the official looking website, Navam Perahera was "Planned by Gangaramaya Temple overlooking the banks of the picturesque Beira Lake at Hunupitiya in Colombo, this pageant hosts hundred colorfully decked elephants parading the show on a full moon in February. History says that Navam Perahera Festival in Colombo was initiated in 1979 and hundreds of visitors flock to this temple every year since then to look at the amazing sight of herds of elephants walking down the road in their best of bright and pompous fineries. Navam Perahera Festival of color, fun and excitement speaks a lot about the local fervor and traditions of music."  That is a pretty good explanation of what I would call a very cool parade with a lot of elephants; elephants that you can get very, very close to.  Enough of all of this reading, let's look at some pictures of the elephants:

Elephant waiting to walk in the parade
Oh look, another elephant!
Little baby elephant
Juvenile elephant
Big @$*& elephants
Star elephant with a religious relic on his back
Elephant giving me the eye - I think I got a little too close to this big guy!
The small guys are cute
Big ol tusks on this fella
Walking in the parade
One of the coolest things about the parade were all the sounds.  I made a compilation of video clips we took to give you an idea of the sounds and chaos of the parade.  I tried to upload the video to this blog, but that is a bit beyond my technical abilities, so I just uploaded it to my YouTube account.  Check it out at:

Navam Perahera Movie

If you ever get a chance to visit Sri Lanka in February, check out the Navam Perahera.  It is certainly bigger, brighter, louder and cooler than I could ever capture on my quaint little blog.

Part two of this two part epic will take us south to the Foundation of Goodness and all the amazing work the people of this great organization are doing for the villagers in this area.  It is an amazing story of the love one man has for his home village and the people of Sri Lanka and I for one, hope to share it with as many people as I can so stay tuned! 

1 comment:

  1. Harb, you are living the life brutha. I've always wanted to check out sri lanka. I would hat to be the guy that has to sweep the streets after that parade.

    Ray strong