Building Harmony through cricket and song

Sri Lanka Harmony Day
By Larry Marshall

Uniting Through Faiths (a Commission for Mission project) organised the second annual Sri Lankan Harmony Day on 28 March at Wesley College in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

More than 350 Sri Lankans from all ethnicities and religions came together in hope and celebration. They were joined by many friends of this large Sri Lankan diaspora.

The mood of the day was set by a rich cultural concert of ancient temple music, fusion dance, children’s voices raised in song, innovative youth theatre of reconciliation and fabulous choirs. The finale saw choir master Rushan Hewawasam lead the whole audience in a rousing chorus of the national anthem in both the Sinhala and Tamil languages. This is the first time this has been done in Australia and it provoked many smiles and hugs in the audience.

Harmony Day choir
Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese singing together is an important symbol of a new mood of reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Recent presidential elections in January dislodged a war-time leader and ushered in a new administration more in tune with the deep yearning of the people for healing. There is a new energy and hope for building a sustainable and peaceful future together.

The Harmony concert was followed by a sumptuous feast of curries and freshly made roti provided by Sri Lankan asylum seekers and famous restaurant cooks from Lentil as Anything. The day was made complete by some glorious cricket played in bright sunshine on the lush green ovals of Wesley College. A perfect Sri Lankan day – good music, hot curries and cricket.

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