Christmas in Sri Lanka Food and Festivities

Naomi Booth :: Friday 17th December 2021 :: This Story

As we enter the holiday season we thought we'd share some experiences of a Sri Lankan Christmas with you all for our last blog of 2021.

Christmas in Sri Lanka

Christmas in Sri Lanka is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Although 7% of the population are Christian, Christmas is seen as a time of love, friendship and sharing of food for families of all faiths.

Christmas Traditions

Picture: /files/blog/442/w288/christmas-in-sri-lanka.pngChristmas traditions across SL are very much influenced by our colonial past. Portuguese, Dutch, British and Sri Lankan customs intermingle to make a very special time of celebrations.

When I was growing up in Colombo, the preparations usually began in November when my mother used to make the Christmas cake and pudding. The SL Christmas Cake includes ingredients like mixed peel, brandy, spices, rose water and cashew nuts. The Christmas cake is cut into pieces and each piece of cake is wrapped individually so the whole cake making is a process with family coming together.

Christmas is also celebrated in non-Christian households with decorations and trees. The 25th of December is a public holiday and at midnight on the 24th of December the churches are cathedrals are filled to the brim with congregations frequently outside the church celebrating Midnight Mass.

In Sinhalese Christmas is called Naththala and in Tamil Christmas is called Nathar Pandikai.

Christmas for our OSL Team in Batticaloa

I was curious to know what our OSL team get up to over the Christmas period, so I asked Shalini, Chitra and Dilukshi from OSL about what they typically do for Christmas.

Does your family have any Christmas traditions?

Shalini: My family and I go to Midnight Mass and then visit my extended family. We also go to seven churches throughout the day and say prayers.

Chitra: We go to Morning Mass and then all of my family visits my house, where I have a big Christmas tree and decorations.

Dilukshi: We go to Midnight Mass and then on Christmas Day we always wear new clothes and have prayers for our family and friends. We visit relatives, sing and dance at night and play games. In the lead up to Christmas, Santa visits all the children in my village and gives them chocolate.

What do you typically eat for Christmas dinner?

All: We typically have meat biryani (beef or chicken) with curries and Christmas cake, murukku and other sweets.

Does your family buy each other presents at Christmas?

Shalini: In my family, we give each other Christmas dresses.

Chitra: I have six grandchildren, so we give them the t-shirts, hair accessories.

Dilukshi: Yes, we give dresses or a purse.


Happy Christmas and New Year from Ocean Stars

On behalf of Oceans Stars Trust and Ocean Stars Lanka, I'd like to wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year holidays.

Although the last two years have been tough, with no doubt more COVID-19 challenges ahead, we are pleased to report that Ocean Stars is in a strong position to continue and grow our work in Sri Lanka.

This would not be possible without your valuable support.

We really thank all of our supporters for your continued support towards our mission of providing children with access to quality early years education provision in Sri Lanka.

The Ocean Stars family is at an exciting stage of development and we look forward to sharing more content about our work with you in 2022.