SRI LANKA EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON DC CELEBRATES
SRI LANKA’S 62 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
The 62nd Anniversary of the Independence of Sri
Lanka celebration was held at the Wheaton, Md. High School Auditorium
on February 13, 2010.
The children from the Sri Lankan-American community in Washington
DC sang the national anthem.
The highlight of the program, as the audience
had anticipated, was a spectacular performance by internationally
renowned Channa Upuli, the leading dance group in Sri Lanka. The
dancers provided more than two hours of traditional and modern
renditions, often accompanied by a lone drummer.
On Feb. 4 Embassy hosted a multi-religious Independence Day
observance, preceded by the hoisting of the flag by
The popular singer Deepikia Priyadharshani Peiris
also entertained. She was a guest of the Embassy of Sri Lanka,
which sponsored the event.
Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya lit the traditional oil lamp
with the children representing different ethnicities and
religious traditions in Sri Lanka.
Prior to the cultural program, children representing
different ethnicities and religious traditions lit the traditional
oil lamp with Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador
to the United States. The children were joined by couples dressed
in the national costumes of all communities of Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya addressed the Sri Lankan
Community in the Greater Washington area.
The large crowd braved snow-covered streets and
bone-chilling winter temperatures to enjoy a slice of Sri Lankan
culture and food. The Washington, DC area was blanketed with more
than two feet of snow just days before the celebration.
The audience included Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim
and Christian religious dignitaries, as well as U.S. government
As the show opened, Ambassador Wickramasuriya
told the audience that the celebration heralded a new, peaceful
era in Sri Lanka, which in May successfully concluded 26 years
of conflict against terrorism.
“This Independence day we celebrate not
just the freedom Sri Lanka gained from the British 62 years ago,
but the real and lasting independence we gained from terrorism
just a few months ago,” Ambassador Wickramasuriya said.
“Our country has set a new course, and we must come together
as a community of Sri Lankans to ensure that peace is maintained
and that all Sri Lankans prosper.”
The popular singer Deepikia Priyadharshani Peiris entertained
A chorus of children from the Sri Lankan-American
community in Washington sang Sri Lanka Matha, the national anthem,
followed by a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Ms. Janani
The audience also watched a short film on the
Uthuru Mithuru Northern Friendship Rail Reconstruction program.
Under the program, the Yal Devi train that for years ran from
Colombo to Jaffna will be reintroduced to link the South and the
Northern parts of the country.
The ceremony highlighted Sri Lankan culture and
traditions, leaving the audience in a patriotic spirit in celebration
of Sri Lanka's 62nd Independence Day.
In addition to Feb. 13 ceremony, the Embassy
on Feb. 4 hosted a multi-religious Independence Day observance,
preceded by the hoisting of the flag by Ambassador Wickramasuriya.