2. Halloween and Sri Lankans

Traditional Sri Lankan Design. Image©Copyright Ruth Lor Malloy 2010

This weekend is Halloween.  This festival is on my web-site because I think it would be nice if our immigrants understood something about Toronto events.  My web-site isn’t just about the cultures of Germany or Peru as they appear in this city.  Toronto has a culture too.  My web-site is for everyone.

I can image new arrivals from Russia and Iran wondering about the proliferation of skeletons and ghosts in our stores and outside our houses.  I wonder if the morbidity brings back horrible feelings of death and suffering for Rwandans, Sudanese and Cambodians.  If you know, please tell me. 

I will be passing out candy Halloween evening, but on that Sunday morning, I’ll be going to the Maha Vihara Buddhist Meditation Centre on Kingston Road.  I saw an article in the Star about a festival at this Sri Lankan centre last summer.  In a picture was a fancy tower shaped like those we saw in that country. I found its web-site and its mention of a procession.  I put it into my web-site. 

The worship of the Katina  starts on Saturday evening at 7:30pm and goes on to midnight.    At 9am on October 31 is the Katina Robe Procession. This is probably a parade of devotees giving gifts to the temple. If you go too, please send me your impressions, your reactions.  My e-mail is: ruthlormalloy@gmail.com .  

We saw such a procession in Burma at a Buddhist temple there. The people were bringing clothes, television sets, and electric fans for the monks. This event is not a tourist attraction. It is genuinely religious so we have to think about something to cover our heads. If you go, do ask if you have to take off your shoes inside the building.  

The Katina, or the offering of robes, is an important festival. It starts at the end of the rainy season in Asia, at the full moon.  It is a time to give new robes to the monks. It would be interesting to see if it is similarly celebrated in Toronto. I’m curious to find out how many monks are there, and what nationalities they are. I hope we’ll have a chance to talk with some Sri Lankans and to learn how they are adapting to Toronto.  Do their kids speak Singalese? What do they think of Halloween?  The war is now over.  Did it affect their families?  Dare we ask these people if Canada should accept the Tamil boat-people as refugees?

And can they tell us about the food. Lunch will be provided!

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