The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in New York celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Independence Day of Sri Lanka, led by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, Ambassador Mohan Pieiris, and staff of the Mission, and joined by many Sri Lankans living in the tri-state area.
Multi-faith religious observances invoked blessings on those gathered, and all Sri Lankans on this special anniversary. Ven. Aluthgama Dhammajothi Thero, Chief incumbent of the New York Buddhist Vihara; Priest Ramanthan Subramony of the Hindu Temple Society of North America; Father Sylvester Jayakody of St.Joseph’s Monastery in New Jersey and Master Aadil Aslam led the religious observances.
Messages issued by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on the occasion of the 75th Independence Day were read out by the Permanent Representative Mohan Pieris and the Deputy Permanent Representative Sugeeshwara Gunaratna, respectively.
The Mission hosted a lively cultural show with performances by Sri Lankan youth in the tri-state area. Children in colourful traditional attire performed dances to well-known tunes of patriotic pride, such as ‘Me rata, mage rate’ and “Mage ratata dalada himi saranai.” Upadhyay Fonseka sung an original song, composed by her as a teenager entitled ‘For the Future Youth of Sri Lanka.’ Traditional drums accompanied most of items played by children living in the tri-state area, demonstrating how the Sri Lankan community keeps alive the traditions and culture of the motherland, even while living abroad. A highlight of the show was a sitar performance bringing traditional folk-songs to life, by Visharad Bhageshri Fonseka, captivating the audience. The Ambassador thanked the children for their performances and distributed certificates to all who performed in appreciation of their contribution.
In his address to the Sri Lankans gathered, Ambassador Mohan Peiris quoted the poet Khalil Gibran, that, “life without liberty, is like a body without a spirit”. He requested Sri Lankans to embrace a freedom that is structured on the will to be responsible for ourselves. He reminded that freedom does not come easy, and never comes free. The Ambassador called for those gathered to work together as the children of proud mother Lanka, and meaningfully participate in the nation building process. He appealed that, on this anniversary, we be sensitive to the values of Sri Lanka and follow them in letter and spirit, and support Sri Lanka’s journey towards a new independence, economic recovery, safety, security and progress.
The festivities concluded with a spread of Sri Lanka’s traditional refreshments and sweetmeats served at the Mission.
4 February 2023
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
in New York