More than 100 Sri Lankans in Dunedin held their Christmas Celebration programme on 25th December at the St Patrick’s Basilica community hall. Sri Lankans in Dunedin comprise of various professionals, tertiary students, and school-age children. Well-wishers turned out for a truly memorable evening of talent and entertainment at this event. Monsignor John Harrison of the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin was the Chief Guest on occasion.
The programme featured several events illustrating Sri Lankan cultural values, their different unique talents spanning to the religious aspects and Christmas carols, singing karaoke, and dancing that amused the attendees with surprises. Throughout the event, Santa Claus was present, encouraging the performers with gifts and cheering the crowd with his unique joy and humour.
The hobby and budding artistes delighted the audience with different solos, duet and group performances that delivered multidisciplinary skills. Western ballroom dancing was a stunning performance among the featured events by two teenage couples trained by prominent dancing enthusiasts and choreographers Randima Senarathna. The beautiful and talented teams, Sanduni, Malissa, Ravija and Nimesh, delighted the crowd with a series of gorgeous routines that added an element of enchantment to the evening.
These young dancers performed a visually dazzling and rousing jig that captured the rhythms of Latin American jive numbers that stole many hearts in the audience. Moreover, the Christmas carol event led by Nirmala Wijesinghe and performed by the children depicted the religious value in the programme that included English and Sinhala (Sri Lankan native language) songs.
The day celebrated the variety of rich art traditions and cultural mores that this community brings to the Kiwi culture, thereby promoting a better understanding of the Sri Lankan heritage and shared values that connect all of us here in New Zealand.
Written by: Randima Senarathna. Photographs by: Nishantha Kumarasinghe