Sinhala and Tamil New Year is called Sinhala Avurudu despite being celebrated by both Hindus and Buddhists alike. It marks the completion of the solar circuit and has to be astrologically determined. So the Sinhala Avurudu may begin somewhere between 13 and 15 April, depending on the sages.
The Avuruddha is heralded by the constant lighting of fire crackers and the unmistakable call of the koel bird, popularly known as the koha which coos only once a year-at this time.
The day prior to the Sinhala and Tamil New year is one of anticipation. City bus and train stations are crowded with people in a hurry to get to their homes. Most people return to their ancestral homes, obviously with a longing to celebrate the holidays in much the same way they did as children.
The New Year customs and the rituals are carried out between members of one’s family, business associates, and even students of IIT. Every year students of IIT have celebrated the Sinhala New Year in an appropriate manner. They indulge in the traditional rituals of boiling of milk, serving of kiribath and an assortment of coconut oil-based sweetmeats, which are high on the traditional holiday menu. This is followed by taking part in several traditional activities of fun and games. Staff and students take part in these activities irrespective of the religion they may belong to.