We often talk about “Sri Lanka Time” over here. Many in the SNP will relate – we have “SNP Time” too. It’s not like other time. I recently invited someone to an interview at my office here in Galle and she said “OK I will be there about 11.30”. I firmly pointed out that she’d be here AT 11.30 or else …. very fiercesome of me!
But it can drive you mad and New Year is a perfect example. I blogged on Sunday saying Thea and I had celebrated New Year at 12.05pm and we had, because that’s what we were told to do. There we were (as you can see from the pic) on the beach, beers in hand wishing each other a Suba aluth arudack veva! I then texted all my friends out here and one replied saying new year wasn’t till 6.24pm!! So the beer was for nothing!
It seems that 12.05pm was the end of the old year, the next few hours were a neutral period and at 6.24pm the New Year would begin. It’s all to do with astrology, you see. This is a country that places a lot of emphasis on astrology. Weddings, the building of houses, moving house – all of these things are done on auspicious days which must mean that the planets are correctly aligned.
Yesterday at 6.24pm on the dot it was most definitely New Year because that’s when it all kicked off. We were in the house with some guests when there was an explosion of sound. We got out on the balcony and watched as our neighbours let off bangers and firecrackers and we could see them going off all around Galle – all at exactly the same time. It was lovely actually. From our elevated position we watched the little girls across the road as they excitedly came outside in their new pink dresses and squealed with delight as daddy set off some spinning sparklers. We shouted Happy New Year to them and they eagerly returned the greeting. When they held their own sparklers I heard the youngest child tell her mother “mata ba hei” and I was delighted because I understood – well, seeing as it means “I’m scared” I kept my delight to myself! (Is it a surprise to anyone that I know how to say I’m scared?)
So, after all the confusion about when New Year actually was, you’d think that finally we’d worked it out when the place exploded with fireworks except … a fellow volunteer texted me at 6.12 from Kandy to say there were so many bangers going off he felt like he was in a war zone! Kandy is not that far away so how come their new year started 12 minutes earlier? See what I mean? Sri Lanka Time. Anyway never mind, I was just thrilled to be having a second but very different New Year. Looking forward to the January sales now!