The International Day of Living Together in Peace & the World Day for Cultural Diversity which was on May 16 & May 21 respectively, was celebrated by the Embassy on 21 May 2021 connecting the Sri Lankan Community and Friends of Sri Lanka in the USA.
Special messages were issued by religious dignitaries from the Greater Washington area representing the four religions practiced in Sri Lanka. The Most Venerable Katugastota UparatanaThero, Chief incumbent of the Maryland Buddhist Vihara conducting Buddhist religious observances and invoked blessing followed by the chanting of Seth Pirith. Swami Ragupathi Kurukkal conducted Hindu religious observances and the recital of Hindu prayers. Rev. Father Dilantha Arachchilage of the Hope Community Church in Arlington conducted Christian prayers and offered blessings recognizing the importance of peace and harmony among all. Mr. Seyed Rizwan Mowlana, representing the Islam faith, recited verses from the holy Quran and invoked blessings for the country for peace and harmony.
In opening remarks, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha highlighted the importance of celebrating these two events with a view to reinforcing the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural traditions of our society and to encourage living in peace and harmony. He said the Embassy had endeavoured to do so by celebrating the important religious events as part of its annual calendar of activities. He also used this opportunity to thank those who continued to support Sri Lanka particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme featured cultural performances and informative presentations by the children and youth of the Community which highlighted the cultural diversity in Sri Lanka and efforts to ensure peace, harmony, and unity among the different cultures, religions & ethnicities.
The celebrations concluded with a vote of thanks by Ms. Wijayanthi Edirisinghe, Minister/OSL who coordinated the event.