National New Year’s rice festival held under President’s patronage

The National New Rice Festival (Aluth Sahal Mangalya) unfolded under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe (06), at the historic Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya sacred site.

This traditional ceremony, dedicated to offering the first yield of rice harvest from the Maha season to the sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya for the 57th consecutive year, was orchestrated by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agricultural Services, following the guidance of the esteemed Atamasthanadipathi Venerable Pallegama Hemarathana Nayaka Thero.

Hailing from various corners of the nation, numerous farmers congregated for this age-old ritual, beseeching for bountiful rains and fertile fields. Their prayers extended to the aspiration for national self-sufficiency through agriculture, fostering economic prosperity.

Initiating the ceremonial filling of the golden bowl with freshly harvested rice, Atamasthanadipathi Nuwara Kalaviya Chief Sanghanayaka Venerable Pallegama Hemarathana Nayaka Thero led the proceedings. Amidst the sacred pirith chanting by the Maha Sangha, President Ranil Wickremesinghe himself partook in the ritual, adding rice to the golden vessel.

Furthermore, the President was presented with a commemorative edition of the National New Rice Festival, encapsulating the significance of the occasion.

Farmer Punchirala, the leader of the Anuradhapura District Agricultural Organization, put forward an agriculture proposal to President Ranil Wickremesinghe. In a gesture of hospitality, Adivasi leader Wannila Aththo offered honey to President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Ven. Pallegama Hemarathana Nayaka Thero delivered a special sermon, while the Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industry, Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera, also shared his remarks.

Among the dignitaries in attendance were Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa, North Central Province Governor Mahipala Herath, State Ministers DB Herath, Shehan Semasinghe, and Kader Masthan.

Members of Parliament SM Chandrasena, Duminda Dissanayake, and Ishaq Rahman, former Chief Minister of the North Central Provincial Council, S. M. Ranjith, former Minister P. Harrison, President of the Trade Union Director General Saman Ratnapriya, and a delegation of Adivasi leaders, including Wannila Aththo, were also present at the event.