While Sri Lanka is a magnificent and highly recommended tourist destination, the secret of the nation’s hospitality begins with its people – spice addicted, cricket fanatics and mega tea drinkers – Sri Lankan’s are warm and welcoming with big hearts and wide smiles – ALWAYS!
The culture and society in Sri Lanka is infiltrated with 3000 years of knowledge, a collection of religious ethnicities and colonial traditions that are different, yet comparable in many ways. Very few countries in the world have a rich cultural diversity, but the identity of a Sri Lankan is unique. Along with the customs and traditions that are passed on from generations, the nation’s religious blend plays an important role in creating this identity.
This fusion of ethnicities and religions reflects explicitly in Sri Lankan cuisine – which is a mix of remnants from the Portuguese, British and Dutch colonizers along with traditional sweetmeats that are everywhere during the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year and the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Given that Sri Lanka produces some of the world’s best tea and spices, locals prefer their tea light, and food spicy. The British introduced tea in Sri Lanka during the 19th century and today, Ceylon Tea, Dilmah, Mlesna and Lipton are some of the most popular brands.
There are quite a few spices gardens in Sri Lanka, often visited by locals and tourists. During the ancient historic times, when Sri Lanka was known as Taprobane, the high quality of spices was the reason why Arabs, Greeks and Romans maintained links with the island by means of the spice trade.
Here’s a list of spices that Sri Lanka is renowned for:
- Sweet Cumin
- Curry Leaves
- Lemon Grass
The gem industry in Sri Lanka is another remarkable achievement with its long and vibrant history. Once known as the “Island of Gems”, till today, tourists are always craving to have a look at Sri Lankan gems. While the blue sapphire is the most famed jewel in the country, other widely showcased gemstones include:
- Star sapphires
- Yellow sapphire
In addition to these fine jewels, Sri Lanka was also once well known for its skilfully crafted ivory ornaments – which were exported to many parts of Europe. Many of these delicate treasures are exhibited across museums in Europe, which is proof of how skills were handed down from fathers to sons during those days in Sri Lanka.
During a holiday in Sri Lanka, the young and the fit could try their hands at a type of martial arts known as Angampora. Home to the island, this sport is a combination of combat techniques, self-defense, exercise and meditation. The key component is hand-to-hand fighting, but native weapons such as staves, knives and swords are also used.
And last, but certainly not the least, cricket is the ultimate passion of almost every Sri Lankan – and Sri Lanka can be classified as the best place for a cricketing holiday. Irrespective of caste, race and creed, cricket is a gentleman’s game that brings everyone together. Cricket had begun in Sri Lanka long before the nation gained Test status in 1982, and is still similar to a religion in this beautiful jewel of an island.