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Celebrating Good Times. . . Sri Lankan families from the International Connect Group enjoyed New Year festivities at the Gore Baptist Church. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Sri Lankan families gathered to share their cultural New Year celebrations with the wider community on Sunday.

Couple Iroshana Kulathunga and Sachini Ekanayaka said it was nice to teach others more about their culture.

“We miss our families in Sri Lanka but it is nice to get the chance to celebrate the Sri Lankan New Year with everyone here,” Mrs Ekanayaka said.

About 40 people attended the event at Gore Baptist Church.

Attendees came from a range of cultural backgrounds.

The festival included a presentation of the rituals performed in the Sri Lankan New Year and traditional foods, games and dances.

Mrs Ekanayaka said one of the traditional dances was based on the process of rice cultivation.

“So the motions are ploughing and taking the harvest with the sickle and cleaning the fans.”

The pair acknowledged the International Connect Group, which had helped them form connections in Gore.

“We moved here three years ago because Iroshana found a job in the dairy sector, so we decided to settle here.

“But we connected with [group founder] Andrea [Greer] and she invited us to the group, and we have grown very close friendships with the people involved.”

Their close friends Shalika Gamage and Suresh Pushpakumara moved to Gore five years ago.

Mr Pushpakumara said they moved for a better life, education and work opportunities.

“People are good here.”

Mrs Gamage said she did miss the southern parts of Sri Lanka.

“I miss the climate and the tropical fruits, but it has been awesome to share this day with others and share our values and culture.”

Mrs Greer said the event was amazing and meaningful.

“It was a good time for everybody, especially our Sri Lankan families,” she said.

The Sri Lankan New Year was officially observed on April 13 and 14 this year; the Gore festivities came later because of practicalities.