It was a hot summer day in Pasadena on July 14th 2018, the Centennial square right in front of the Historic Pasadena City hall was busy with traditional music, dance, drumming, exhibitors and the aroma of delicious Sri Lankan Cuisine.
Sri Lankan expatriates and Angelenos gathered to celebrate Sri Lanka Day. The annual one-day event that offers everything Sri Lanka has to offer organized by Sri Lanka Foundation International.
The one-day event began at 10:00 am with booths along the square showcasing exhibitors all the way from Sri Lanka like Shanika Batiks, Sri Lankan handlooms, saris, jewelry and Sri Lankan souvenirs. The aromatic spices of Sri Lanka took over the square with authentic rice and curry from Asanka Catering, Hoppers by Anon Caterers, Lamprais by Baja Sub, Koththu roti by Mani Catering, Faluda & short eats by JK Tea and Biriyani Hut.
The cultural showcase began at 1:00 pm showcasing age-old art forms of traditional dance, traditional drumming, folk dancing, bharathanatyam and various fusion and hiphop dance. Kids and adults alike spent months practicing and perfecting traditional performances to showcase on this day. The show began with an amazing Ves Dance performance by Thathjith Dance Academy followed by fusion dance by Asian Friendship Arts Foundation. The junior group of Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Arts Center showcased their beautiful island with Magey Rata. Sisters Kiara and Siara choreographed a beautiful Bharathanatyam followed by ARS Dance crew who made everyone dance in their seats with their amazing hip-hop performance. The audience was taken to Sri Lanka with a low country inspired dance performance of Yallu Bollaw by Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Arts Center.
Sanuri & Avanthi took everyone to Bollywood and Hiruni performed a beautiful Tandavam. Next came Thathjith Dance with a folk dance popular as the Pol Katu Natuma or the coconut dance. The SLF Performing Arts Center showcased a beautiful Kathak item and the girls of New Academy Canoga Park performed a hip-hop dance. Vernon Fernando mesmerized the audience on his saxophone. Bollywood took over the square with Nithya’s best of Bollywood. Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Arts Center again took us all back in history to the time of Kuweni with a modern, fusion dance. Indu Wickramasuriya directed a wonderful traditional instrumental orchestra and Thathjith Dance showcased another folk dance the Kulu Natuma. The audience was mesmerized by the Narilatha dance performance by Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Arts Center. 17-year-old Talin took the stage to perform three songs from her new album.
The traditional lighting of the oil lamp followed under the patronage of the Mayor of Pasadena, Mr. Terry Tornek. Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Arts Center performed a beautiful peacock dance followed by the SriLux fashion show. It was exquisite with traditional sarees and batik clothing with a modern twist. Next was a beautiful Ves Dance performed by the instructors of Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Arts Center. Next came a beautiful item by Vidushi Gurunada Madawala. The finale was exceptional with Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Arts Center’s Fusion of Drums. Students of SLF Performing Arts Center showcased the 2,500-year-old history of traditional drumming using many traditional drums.
The Cultural showcase made way for the Beautiful Pagent of Lanka on Colorado Boulevard, which was followed by live music by Anokia. Everyone danced the night away to baila and enjoyed good old fashion Sri Lankan Street food.
For more information about Sri Lanka day visit slday.com. Sri Lanka Day is organized by Sri Lanka Foundation.The mission of the Sri Lanka Foundation is To educate the citizens of the world on Sri Lanka and the achievements of its people, as well as aid in the advancement of the Sri Lankan community worldwide.