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Prayers and patriotism on 73rd Sri Lankan Independence Day

Filed on February 4, 2021
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At the Sri Lanka House in Abu Dhabi, Dhamika Malraj de Silva, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UAE, hoisted the national flag and led the community in singing the national anthem.


This year’s Sri Lankan Independence Day celebrations in the UAE may have been different because of Covid-19. But in the hearts of expats, it remained a special day, one filled with prayers and national pride.

At the Sri Lanka House in Abu Dhabi, Dhamika Malraj de Silva, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UAE, hoisted the national flag and led the community in singing the national anthem.

A two-minute silence was observed in memory of the fallen heroes. Religious verses of Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity filled the air as the mission conducted multi-faith observances. Messages of the Sri Lankan leaders were read out, and all addresses were made in Sinhala and Tamil and in English, too.

“These are difficult times and amid your busy schedule, you are able to spend a few minutes with us. This is very important as a Sri Lankan,” De Silva said before cutting a big cake.

In Dubai, although celebrations were low-key — with the mission organising a small function attended only by the consulate staff — hundreds of excited Sri Lankan expatriates joined in virtually.

Nalinda Wijerathna, Consul-General of Sri Lanka to Dubai and Northern Emirates, hoisted the national flag, which was followed by the singing of the national anthem.

The in-house programme, aired on all the social media handles of the consulate, also saw CG Wijerathna read out a message to his countrymen.

Speaking about the strong bilateral ties between the UAE and Sri Lanka, he said: “The friendly and cordial bilateral relations between the UAE and Sri Lanka have grown exponentially since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations in 1979. While witnessing important bilateral milestones over a period of 40 years, the cordial relations between the two countries...have spread in all the spheres including trade, investment, tourism, and economic cooperation…The UAE is among the most preferred destinations for employment among the Sri Lankans due to its conducive environment for foreign employees.”

Sri Lankan expat and Dubai resident Nadeeka Gayathrie Kaluarachchi were among the hundreds who took out time from her schedule to tune into the virtual celebrations.

“We are proud to salute our heroes who fought for freedom and hope. This year is a bit different due to the pandemic and, as we say, safety first for brighter days are ahead. I would be spending our Independence Day tonight with family at our favorite Sri Lankan Restaurant and for sure we will go out for a drive with our Sri Lankan T-shirts on,” Kaluarachchi said.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com





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