Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Avurudhu Festivals a wonderful tradition – especially at the rural village level

This unique tradition of the “Avurudhu Uthsavaya” of which there must be 1000’s dotted all over the country in the month of April has evolved from the rabana drumming to the musical. I am really looking forward to the day, I can revive the rabana with the ladies in the cloth and jacket, and make that a must have event. I attended numerous avurudhu events this month, many this year in the Western Province had to contend with the rains coming at the least expected times, playing havoc with the scheduling which in the best of times can be tricky!

 One common feature today, which I do not concur with, is the stage that is set along with the sound system, and the usual DJ or even better, Band that is now part of this tradition. I must confess I am a little bit of a traditionalist and wish to include more of the games and competitions of the past. The cost of an event balloons due to these new additions, otherwise just as much fun can be had by all at a much lower cost. For example the average village fair, stage varies from Rs10K to Rs20K. The sound system another Rs5K-10K depending on the sophistication, (remember this is just for one day’s event in a village open space) The cost of a band can vary between Rs25K to Rs200K for one evening, and it seems to be a matter of pride for a village to have a band, the next best is a DJ.   


 I attended many events this month, and one common feature that irks me is the sound. It is just too loud and distorts the music, and the speeches. It is possibly because the electronics is also not the best at these price levels for local hire. The sounds, and music and stage are all businesses which specialize in these events, and charge accordingly as it is a time there is heavy demand for such during a short period of time.

I was also surprised how few of the lasses of today compete for the Avurudhu Kumari titles and Kumaraya, latter ones which are usually only for the small ones. These are random observations in the Western Province, and I trust the more rural the area, its subtlety and earthiness is greater.

One common feature is the incredible variety of the games, that permits everyone a chance of participation, be it in axe throwing for males, running on one leg, fancy dress or some other ambidextrous activity. The other is the array or prizes on offer, from push bicycles, electrical standalone fans etc. and the prizes are liberal so that everyone has a chance of getting something. I have not mentioned the marathons and bicycle races that cost a lot to sponsor which are usually the purview of the bigger festivals, and draws people from a wider area.

No comments: