LAHORE: A six-day Sri Lankan food festival kicked off on Friday with traditional dance performances and lighting of oil lamps.
The dances performed at the ceremony included Pooja dance, a homage to the goddess Sarsawati; Thelme dance, dedicated to the devil deo; and the Hansa dance, featuring dancers dressed up as swans.
The festival is a joint effort by the Sri Lankan High Commission and the Pearl Continental Hotel.
Speaking at the ceremony, EAS Wijayanthi Edirisinghe, the acting high commissioner of Sri Lanka, said Sri Lanka boasted a rich heritage and diverse cultures. She said the festival was meant to provide an opportunity to Lahoris to taste Sri Lankan food as they watch performances of country’s popular dance forms.
Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtuba Shujaur Rehman said he believed the two countries had a lot of things in common. Among these was love for cricket, he said, recalling conversations about cricket matches with cab drivers during his trip to the country.
PC Lahore general manager Haseeb A Gardezi said the idea to arrange the festival first was floated by the Sri Lankan high commissioner. He said the arrangements were made by the hotel’s head chef who was a Sri Lankan national.
Honorary Sri Lankan Counsul Nadeem Zia Peerzada said the festival was meant to celebrate diversity. He said he hoped the festival would help promote Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage. He said Sri Lanka was known for the harmonious coexistence of its different communities.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2015.