Under the guidance of Consul General, Justice A.W.A. Salam, Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Jeddah conducted ‘Esala Poya’ program in collaboration with the Sri Lankan expatriate community living in Jeddah on 19 July at the Consulate premises. The Consulate premises was richly decorated for the Esala Poya Festival.
Although this program is not on the scheduled list of activities of the Consulate, a decision was taken in consultation with the expatriate community to celebrate the ‘Esala Festival’ as a measure to compensate the inability of the Consulate to focus on Vesak and Ifthar programs due to the unfavourable situation prevailed in the home land.
The program commenced with the observance of Ata sil, followed by Dhamma sermons, meditation sessions, Ashtapana Gilanpasa Pooja and Mal Perahara. In the night a ‘Bath Dansala’ was conducted by the expatriate community with the patronage of Consulate staff. More than 200 Sri Lankans of all communities participated at the ‘Dansala’.
A student from Sri Lankan International School, Nethmi Bandara delivered a speech highlighting the importance of ‘Esala Poya’.
During the concluding session, addressing the gathering, the First Secretary (Employee and Welfare), Manjula emphasised the importance of conducting religious events such as Vesak, Poson, and Ifthar in order to develop religious harmony and national unity among the Sri Lankans. Expatriate community living in Jeddah, extended their support and cooperation to this event irrespective of cast, creed and religious differences. He further stated that the event undoubtedly opened the door for tranquillity and peace of mind to ease Sri Lankan expatriates of the tension at their work places and created an opportunity for them to meet each other and discuss other matters of common interest concerning the well-being of the fellow citizens.
A ‘Bakthi Geetha’ program was also conducted during the session. The program commenced at 7 a.m. and concluded around 11:45 p.m.