Sri Lanka Day on Saturday August 23rd 2008
at 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA.
The Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica became more festive than usual on Saturday August 23rd when Sri Lanka Day Expo was held for the third consecutive year.
From 10 A.M to 10 P.M. tens of thousands of people flocked to the annual Sri Lanka Day Expo to experience a colorful festival full of Sri Lankan culture and food. Spanning the entire promenade from Broadway to Wilshire Blvd, Sri Lanka Day seemed the largest festival held there with much fanfare befitting the atmosphere of Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.
The lines for the Sri Lankan food booths seem to get longer each year as more and more Americans make their way to Sri Lanka Day for their annual taste of Sri Lankan food. Large numbers of families were seen indulging in an exotic Sri Lankan meal while enjoying the abundant festivities of the Expo. The public seemed to enjoy tasting the crispy round shaped Sri Lankan hoppers and equally delightful kottu rotti.
The stage at Broadway hosted the Miss Sri Lanka - America and Miss Teen Sri Lanka - America Pageant to a very large crowd who greatly seemed to enjoy the colorful Sri Lankan apparel. Unlike most beauty pageants, the Miss Sri Lanka - America and Miss Teen Sri Lanka - America Pageant allows participants to wear traditional Sri Lankan attire. These uniquely made one-of-a-kind dresses were fashioned by top designers in Sri Lanka, and are known as the “cloth and jacket.” In addition, a fashion show with Sri Lankan models highlighted the latest Sri Lankan fashion in a spectacular manner. As usual many Sri Lankan hip-hop acts brought the crowd to their feet with rapper De-Lon being the crowd favorite.
On the other end of the Promenade, the Wilshire stage showcased a fantastic and non-stop line up of Sri Lankan musicians, dancers, and actors who engaged in traditional Sri Lankan performances. The lively and rhythmic performances of the entertainers showing their traditional Sri Lankan dances and musical performances was a rare treat for the public.
The Sri Lanka Day parade, known as a Perahera, with its Sri Lankan dancers, drummers, masked performers, flag bearers, and a theatre elephant was certainly rare experience for the public. The parade highlighted the rich heritage of Sri Lanka with colorful dancers and drummers bringing the entire Promenade alive with their performance. This parade is held to pay homage to the annual Esala Perehara that occurs annually in Sri Lanka with hundreds of performers and a similar number of elephants.
By later that evening, those who had come to experience the culture of Sri Lanka were savoring the last of the Sri Lankan food, dancing the night away, and eagerly telling one another that they were greatly looking forward to the food and events of next year’s Sri Lanka Day.