Virtual Awurudu celebrations with Gavel

Virtual Awurudu Celebrations with Gavel


By Dulmi Fonseka







Each year as April comes near, all of us eagerly await the dawn of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, to eat sweets, play games and to have fun with family and friends. But this time it was quite difficult to feel the cheer of Awurudu, as we were facing the coronavirus pandemic, cooped up in our homes due to islandwide curfew. Even the cuckoo bird wasn’t crying out her usual joyful tune. Although divided by distance we at Gavel united in spirit to celebrate Awurudu virtually, spreading happiness and joy everywhere.




The Mora Gavel Family began the New Year celebrations on the 13th of April 2020, sending out New Year messages that filled our hearts with warmth and joy. These were followed by various Awurudu games like Boruwata Jaya, Soyanna Pibinna, Gavel Raban and Sangawunu Amuththa on the next three days via the Gavel Mora Facebook page. We all joined together to beat the blues of quarantine. On Friday the 17th of April 2020 at 5.10 p.m, which was a great achievement considering the Gavel tradition of starting meetings a little late. It was finally time for the joyous online Awurudu meeting.


The meeting was formally commenced by our president Amaya Dharmasiri, who was dressed for the occasion with flowers adorning her hair. She began on the note “What Awurudu means to me”, telling us that it means a new beginning, a time to look back on the past year and to think about the future ahead.


Then the control was passed on to the Toastmaster of the day, Dinidu who started the evening saying that “Awurudu is a feeling, a feeling unique to everyone, especially for us Sri Lankans”. Although it was difficult to feel the joy of Awurudu this time, it was all about getting together and sharing the fun, because when you share, everything becomes special. So he welcomed us all to share our stories and to have fun.


After introducing the Role-Players of the day, it was time for the Round Robin session, where we shared about the things we really missed this Awurudu. Randula started the session saying he missed playing kata with his friends. Amaya and Methmi were quite happy with this year’s Awurudu because they got more time to spend with their loved ones. Achintha missed sneaking kokis from his grandma while Chamode and Channa shared the same view where they missed the prestigious ganu denu session. A lot of us really missed visiting our grandparents, relatives and neighbours as well as the sound of the cuckoo bird. Kasun missed “the food, the food, oh the food, everything from kavum, kokis to bananas”. Chamuditha said that “Awurudu is always with us, it’s with the people you celebrate it”. Rochelle missed the usual Gavel Awurudu celebrations while Shahan missed playing cards during nonagathaya and Paul concluded saying that he missed playing wala kajja with his friends.


Control was handed over to Nushan, our Table Topics Master, who gave out the final clue about the Sangawunu Amuththa. The first to talk about a Table Topic for the day was none other than Randula, who ended up being self quarantined for two weeks because he invested in something he shouldn’t have, which was the Royal Thomian big match.

Achintha whose Awurudu feast was ruined nevertheless felt happy with what was present, the talk, the laughter and his family. I grabbed the next opportunity to share the story of how my dad and I made konda kavum this Awurudu which made me realize that Awurudu is all about having fun with the people you love, even though the kavum didn’t turn out right. Chathumi spoke about a funny Awurudu meme which went on like “Wenna ona keseda, esema wewa raththaran” (how you want things to be, may it be the same darling); elaborating the fact that we should wish for each other’s happiness while trying to be the best we can be. Amaya told us about the silly things she did when she had a crush back in 2014 and how they met again 6 years later through a story on whatsapp. Shahan told us about a crush he had in grade one and how he tried to get together all his grade one classmates only to be disappointed by the fact that they don’t remember him. He said that when things go bad he can always rely on his Gavel Family to make him feel better. The real meaning behind Awurudu traditions was brought to light by Shehan Paul who reminded us about our duty to carry on the legacy passed down to us by our ancestors. Rochelle reminisced about the first-ever Gavel Awurudu Celebrations and how she misses the fun. Madushika spoke about her favourite Awurudu food which was none other than milk rice. Nirodha shared his happiness on celebrating Awurudu with his whole family which wouldn’t have been possible if not for the pandemic. It reminded us how every grey cloud has a silver lining in it. Aurudu was like a blizzard for Chamika who missed all the auspicious times. He hopes to have a good one next year.

As there were no prepared speeches or open mic sessions there was plenty of time for table topics. To get more people engaged in the fun, Nushan the Table Topics master started nominating people who had not spoken already. Akhila who waited patiently while allowing others chose this time to tell us about the difference between konda kavum and athirasa. The little extra effort you put to make konda kavum makes it look good and taste better than athirasa, which was also a good metaphor that can be applied to our day-to-day lives. Chamuditha told us about the delicious hath maluwa prepared by his mother and Kithmin shared some funny memes of innovative Sri Lankans who fried kokis using the hiramanaya (coconut scraper), which showed us how people tried hard to keep the traditions alive despite the current situation in the country. Methmi spoke about the worst day of her life where she eventually found a good friend for a lifetime. Dulani who was a little nervous and anxious did a good job considering it was her first time to speak up at a Gavel meeting. That marked the end of a successful table topics session.

Next, Methmi gave the timer’s report, Mudith gave the Ah counter’s report while Chamuditha and Akhila evaluated the speeches followed by the grammarian’s report by Shahan. Next came the moment we were all waiting for. Our Project Co-Chairs Dinidu and Nushan started announcing the winners of the online Awurudu games. Merl became the Best Liar beating his opponent Nikila. The title of “Midas Touch” was won by Hemashi Withana. It was a close call between Kithmin and Chamuditha for the Master Raban title which was finally won by Kithmin. Madushika Munasinghe and Kasun Ranasinghe became Awurudu Police for finding the Sangawunu Amuththa, Kasun Withana. Finally, keeping up with the traditions of Gavel Mora, it was time to choose the Awurudu Kumariya and Kumaraya based on the Table Topics. It is a tradition at Gavel Mora to be crowned for not the way you look but the way you speak. It was a daunting task since each speaker was equally talented. I was pleasantly surprised when my name was announced as the Awurudu Kumariya, a title I never would have won ever in my life for my appearance. Shehan Paul became the Awurudu Kumaraya after a tough competition against Shahan and Kithmin. Gavel Mora is a place where your looks don’t matter, but your words do and you get rewarded for just being you.

Madushika gave the General Evaluator’s report and Dinidu ended his role with the catchy phrase “Wenna ona keseda, esema wewa raththaran”. Amaya Dharmasiri, our President thanked the Project Co-Chairs Dinidu and Nushan, who somehow got the work done despite the current situation which made it possible for us to celebrate Awurudu virtually. Special thanks were given out for Anuki who designed the flyers, Madushika who came up with the captions, Chathumi, Nikila, Isuru and all the participants who helped to make Online Gavel Awurudu a success, thus officially concluding the 402nd Gavel meeting.