The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Ankara recently organised a cultural extravaganza in Turkey with the participation of National Youth Dance Troupe from Sri Lanka, the detailed report is appended below for your perusal;

Sri Lanka as a participant country to EXPO 2016 – Antalya celebrated the Sri Lanka Day at the EXPO on the 29th of May 2016.

The inaugural ceremony began with lighting of traditional oil lamp   to the sound of beating of traditional drums (magulbera ) and blowing of a conch shell in the background.  The Ambassador spoke of the proud history of Sri Lanka and the beauty of the unity within cultural diversity which makes Sri Lanka unique and unparalleled. He further appraised the similarities between Sri Lanka and Turkey which makes Turkey a home away from home for any Sri Lankan. In this regard, he referred to the friendliness, hospitality and ready to assist disposition which could be seen commonly in both countries in abundance.

The Commissioner General of EXPO -2016, Ambassador Erdogan Kok, in his speech stated that Sri Lanka’s participation at the EXPO-2016 Antalya will certainly be a stepping stone to elevate the existing relations between Sri Lanka and Turkey to a higher level.

Following the ceremonial part, Sri Lanka National Youth dance troupe offered a captivating performance to the audience.

The second performance of the day by the dance troupe was held at 4.00pm the same day, at EXPO-2016 Boulevard which made the visitors to the EXPO flock at the venue and queue-up to take photographs with the cultural troupe in addition to enjoying their spectacular performance.

Following the show at the boulevard, the dancers took part in the EXPO parade with the mascots and toured across the EXPO-Antalya venue.

The last performance of the day was held at 7.00pm on the 29th May at the amphitheatre of EXPO –Antalya 2016 which was well attended. Audience was mesmerised by the diverse dancing items reflecting different schools of dancing and regions. The special treat of the event was fire dance (ginisisila) which left the audience wide eyed and awed.

In the morning at the Sri Lanka cluster and at the evening near the amphitheatre, a Ceylon Tea Corner continued to distribute liquid tea to all patrons.

On the 30th of May, the Embassy organised a celebration of Vesak as a day of observance  at the Nepal garden of the EXPO-2016 . This is supposedly the first ever time that Vesak was celebrated with international participation in Turkey.  The Embassy invited the Diplomatic Staff of the resident Missions in Turkey of the 33 countries who co-sponsored the United Nations resolution Number 54/115 of 8th February  2000 which recognised Vesak as a day of international observance by the UN.

In the backdrop of a serene stupa with more than 1000 Buddhist flags swaying in the breeze, the Sri Lanka National Youth Dance Troupe evoked blessings of Lord  Buddha by reciting shloka, sutra and BothuBethi Gee. The young dancers also performed Pooja dances to the background music of famous Buddhist songs such as “BuddhanubawenaSithNethPahanwee”.

Subsequent to the events in EXPO Antalya , on the 01st June 2016, two promotional events were held in Ankara, the capital of Turkey.  In the morning a special show was held for the members of the Association of the Spouses of the Heads of Diplomatic Mission in Ankara and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spouses Solidarity Association members. 

In the evening,  at the CüneytGökçer Theatre of Ankara a Sri Lanka dance ensemble held a huge audience captivated. At both events, Sri Lanka tea was served to the audience at a colourful “ Ceylon Tea Corner”.

The last event of this cultural roadshow took place in Cappadocia , a world famous touristic attraction which is crowded with tourists all over the world at this time of the year. The local press had stated “ Sri Lanka painted a magical evening in Cappadocia”. This event too was well attended and well received and also the “ Ceylon Tea Corner became a huge attraction which ultimately resulted objections by the nearby eateries for loss of sales for them.