Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gloriosa superba, Diyabubula, Rathnapura, Sri Lanka.

'Niyangala' - Sinhalese, 'Kandal' - Tamil, a plant bearing poisinous fruits. The flower looks glorious and is superb to look at.

Monday, December 10, 2012

'Plaa' to drink toddy and wooden 'clogs' with nails. Photos sent by Dr.Susiri Weerasekara.

The traditional way of drinking 'toddy' - the fermented sap from the Palmyra tree - in Jaffna, was in a container made from dried  Palmyra leaves. This was called a 'Plaa'. This was usually done under palmyra trees where freshly harvested toddy could be enjoyed. This picture shows a customer enjoying his drink of the day.

In the 1940s to 1960s 'clogs' - wooden shoes - most probably introduced by the Dutch were in common use throughout Ceylon. I recall using these to go to the toilets in the school hostels in the 1940s. The ones I used had a leather strap in front in place of the wooden peg seen in the picture. Self immolation - to burn away past sins - was part of Saiva beleif in the Indian sub-continent. Thus piercing of the skin of the back of the chest with hooks and carrying a 'Kaavady'' - 'kaavu thady' - was and is a part of the religious tradition in Jaffna .  In another act of self-immolation, nails were inserted as seen in the picture on the wooden clogs, and the penitent would walk on these clogs from one temple to another a few Kilometers away. This was part of 'fulfilling a vow' made to Lord Murugan or Goddess Paththini. The vow was taken to ward off a predicted future disaster in ones life, or having minimized the effects of a past 'bad-time' or 'apala'.