Are Sri Lankan South Indians

Religions in Sri Lanka

Representation of Buddhism

Buddhists, mainly Sinhalese, make up 74% of Sri Lanka's population. Religion and ethnicity merge and are Sinhalese, it should be Buddhist and vice versa, even if a small Sinhalese community represents Catholicism on the west coast around Negombo. This religion, whose origin is a strong sense of identity that continues to this day, plays an important role in the country, both spiritually, politically and culturally. Art, literature and architecture are also influenced by Buddhism.

In Sri Lanka the Buddhism of the "Little Vehicle" or the Buddhism of Theravada follows the "Path of the Ancients" and preserves the faith in its orthodox form as in Myanmar or Thailand. According to this teaching, nirvana can only be attained through a spiritual effort at all times and therefore implies the believer's responsibility for his salvation, which he will achieve over many lifetimes. Introduced to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC. Sri Lanka has a Buddha tooth, such a revered and protected relic in Kandy in the Temple of the Tooth. The remains of the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, the caves of the Dambulla Temple, have been evidence of the supremacy of Buddhism in Sri Lanka for centuries.

Buddha statues, temples and dagobas are ubiquitous throughout the area. Every full moon day is "Poya", a holy day and holiday in the Sri Lankan calendar. The religious holidays on the days of the full moon determine the annual calendar: Vesak, the festival of lights in May, “Poson” in June, which celebrates the introduction of Buddhism to the island and the “Peraheras”, “processions” in Sinhala, which take place all year round about to take place in the most important temples in the country. The best known is Kandy, the dazzling “Esala Perahera”, which takes place in July or August.

Representation of Hinduism

Tamils ​​make up 15% of the population in Sri Lanka and are predominantly Hindus. The Tamil kings of South India introduced Hinduism to the north of the island. This religion existed long before the arrival of Buddhism, favored by the constant cultural exchange with neighboring India. Today the Hindu community is mainly concentrated in the north of the island, the east and the central region of the tea plantations, where Tamils ​​immigrated to work in the 19th century. In Sri Lanka, Hindus mainly worship Shiva, his two sons Skanda also named Murugan and Ganesha, the elephant-headed god. The temples called "kovils" are usually very colorful.

Large religious festivals such as the Vel in Colombo, Kataragama or the Kandaswamy Temple lead to long processions of colorful floats. The penitents commit impressive acts of humiliation: they go on embers or sift the body with metal needles.

Representation of Islam

There are almost 2 million Muslims in Sri Lanka. Islam is practiced by about 9% of the Sri Lankan population. This monotheistic religion was introduced to the island by the first Arab settlers who, from the 8th century, established trademarks on the west coast, from Galle to Jaffna. Upon the arrival of the Portuguese, these early Sri Lankan Muslims, formerly called Moors, were forced to migrate to the mountainous region of the island and place themselves under the protection of the Kandyan kings.

During the Dutch colonization, the Malay settlers swelled the Muslim community, where Indians from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Pakistan settled on the island during the British era. Today Muslims can be found everywhere, especially in Colombo, Puttalam, Galle, the east coast and the Kandy region. Mostly Sunni, they follow the words and deeds of the Prophet and respect the five pillars of Islam: prayer, Ramadan, pilgrimage to Mecca, Shahada (declaration of faith) and Zakat (tax donation). Sri Lankan Muslims celebrate the major Islamic festivals in one of the country's 5000 mosques. The largest, the Kachimalai, is in Beruwela, where the first Arab settlers settled.

Representation of Christianity

Christianity makes up about 7.5% of Sri Lanka's population. It was founded in the 16th century by Portuguese missionaries who were eager to convert fishermen from Colombo Island to Jaffna. These Roman Catholics live mainly on the west coast of the island. Negombo and its multitude of churches are even referred to as "little Rome".

The island's Catholic community is also heavily represented among Tamil tea plantations as well as West Coast citizens, who in Sri Lanka are largely Portuguese, Dutch, or British minorities. The Dutch introduced Calvinism advocated by the Reformed Church and the British settlers were behind the establishment of the Anglican Church of Ceylon and the introduction of Christian denominations of Pentecostals, Baptists and Methodists. Catholicism is prevalent to this day and represents 90% of Christian believers. One of the most important churches, "Our Lady of Madhu", was built in 1872 in the north of the island near Mannar. Madhu is a holy place for Catholic pilgrims who travel there every August 15th.

In Sri Lanka the religions live happily together. The statues of the Hindu pantheon are in the Buddhist temples, Jesus is standing next to Buddha. Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim pilgrims travel together to the summit of Adam's Summit, a place of pilgrimage for the four denominations.