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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

Record Crowd Attended Sixtieth Independence Celebration of Sri Lanka in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, 10 February, ( Sixtieth Sri Lankan Independence Celebration in Los Angeles attracted a record crowd of over 1,000 covering representatives from the Governor’s and Mayor’s Office, County Office of the Board of Supervisors, Consular Corps Members, Officials of the U.S. State Department and other officials. A cross section of the Sri Lankan community gathered at the California State University,Long Beach on February 3rd to celebrate the event. Mrs. Lourdes Saab, Deputy Chief of Protocol, County Office Board of Supervisors Consul General Jaliya WickramasuriyaMrs. Lourdes Saab, Deputy Chief of Protocol, County Office Board of Supervisors Consul General Jaliya Wickramasuriya

Consul General Jaliya Wickramasuriya in a press release stated, “We are delighted by the strong showing of unity and patriotism for Sri Lanka on the 6oth Anniversary of her independence. I particularly want to thank my small staff and all the wonderful volunteers who worked so hard to make the event a great success. This is a good example of how team work and working together forgetting all the differences could achieve. We pray for Sri Lanka’s safety, unity and prosperity now and in the years to come.”

The press release added:

The festivities began with a cocktail reception at the main the lobby and a special art exhibition by tsunami-affected artist Walter Kulasuriya of Ahangama, Sri Lanka. The Saptha Bhumi Sri Lankan Cultural Troupe escorted the diplomats, the VIP’s and other guests to the main auditorium to commence the celebration.

The celebration began by hoisting the Sri Lankan national flag, officiated by Consul General Jaliya Wickramasuriya. Then the Sri Lankan national anthem was sung by a group of Sri Lankans which was followed by the American national anthem sung by Ms. Dilini Ranaweera.

Next came lamp lighting ceremony, familiar to all those who have attended Sri Lankan events. Representatives from various local Sri Lankan organizations, Kalasuri Latha Walpola and film actress Mrs. Malini Fonseka joined the Consul General on stage for the lamp lighting ceremony, which is traditionally performed on auspicious Sri Lankan occasions.Sri Lanka’s Consul General with Jaliya Wickramasuriya with evergreen matinee idol Mrs. Malini FonsekaSri Lanka’s Consul General with Jaliya Wickramasuriya with evergreen matinee idol Mrs. Malini Fonseka

There were blessings from Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic, and Islamic clergy. A one minute silence was observed in memory of the brave members of the armed forces who gave up their lives to protect the country. Proclamations were presented by the various State offices and the Consular Corps in California. Mrs. Chandrani Warnasuriya, Author and Writer presented a book titled ‘ Folktales of Sri Lanka ’ written to mark the sixtieth (Golden Jubilee) Independence Anniversary of Sri Lanka. The Consul General Hon. Jaliya Wickramasuriya welcomed the audience on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and read out the special national day message issued by the President of Sri Lanka His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The entire stage production management was handled by Serendib Foundation for Music and Performing Arts headed by Mrs. Medini Ratnayake.

Sri Lankan legend Kalasuri Latha Walpola, a famous Sri Lankan singer who also celebrates 60 years of singing this year, sang “ Sri Nivi Bushitha Lanka Derane ” and “ Peradiga Muthu Etayai Me ” songs, accompanied by her son, to the delight of the audience. The “Queen of Sinhala cinema,” ”Vishva Prasadhini” the famous, award-winning Sri Lankan film actress Malini Fonseka, also made a special appearance and paid tribute to Ms. Walpola and thanked the organizers of the event.

Guests particularly enjoyed the dazzling drums and songs of ancient Sri Lanka, and several traditional dance sequences.

The highlight of the event was the rendering of the song, "We Are Sri Lankans," by children dressed in the colors of the Sri Lankan national flag wearing their ethnic Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, and Burgher outfits. The different verses of the song were sung in the three different languages.

The event concluded with applause and aspirations for a peaceful Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

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