Vesak Full Moon Poya Day 2021

Each year, it is with great enthusiasm that small children get ready for the most sacred Vesak festival celebration in Sri Lanka. It is the most important religious event for Buddhists around the world. The Buddhists commemorate the three most important life events of lord buddha; the birth, enlightenment and the death; which all happened on Vesak poya days, centuries ago.

Children love celebrating Vesak with their families and friends. Making lanterns and pandols, organizing ‘dansals’ have been one of their favorite activities in childhood. These activities would also become those fond memories to cherish later in their lives.

A Vesak lantern like a lotus – made at homewith bamboo, kite papers

Particularly, friends in the neighborhood get together during the Vesak festival. Together they select a ‘jathaka‘ story for the pandol, then pick main events of it and then draw those themslves which then put up in a sequence on the pandol.

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‘Labu Ketaya’ – an ancient Eco-friendly method for storing drinking water.

‘Labu Kataya’ is an eco-friendly hand-made product crafted by Weddas/ natives in Sri Lanka, centuries ago. It is sort of a bottle used for storing drinking water. Interestingly, they have used a vegetable for this purpose. By name, it’s ‘Bottle Gouard’ ; a well known vegetable in many countries not only because it is a healthy food but also because of its natural properties that makes it a useful utensil; a handy container.

We call this vegetable ‘Diya Labu’ in sinhala. ‘Diya labu’ has often been used as a medicinal food for patients having diabetes to reduce blood sugar level, for weight controlling, as a remedy for urinary infections. It is also being used as an ingredient of a milk rice type in Sri Lanka.

Bottle Gouard / Diya Labu

How they have turned it into a water bottle?

There is a variety of shapes for this vegetable. First, you need to select a long-shaped bottle gourd for this purpose. As this vegetable matures, its flesh starts to dry, loosing its tenderness and weight while the outer layers starts hardening. You can also notice a gradual change of its color from light green to a light brown.

By letting ‘Bottle Gourd’ to mature over some more time , it further develops outer stiffness, making an ideal space to retain some form of a liquid securely inside . Old people have also used this ‘labu-kataya’ to store honey as well.

How to know whether it has achieved the right level of thickness ?

By this time, the vege is transformed to a much lighter weight compared to its heaviness earlier. By giving it a good shake, would give you a sound of its rattling seeds inside.

Then, you need to cap off a (bottle-lid like) small piece horizontally from the Bottle Gourd top. Now you can scoop-out its dried flesh and seeds using a long spoon to make up for its inner storage space.

Both the light green raw one and the dried one

Wrapping about three strings around the bottle from bottom to top and then gathering all strings to form a bottle strap makes it easier to carry. The picture below is of a one such bottle we tried at home 🙂

home made – labu kataya

What a cool way to carry some water with you during a walk in the jungle ! I love it 🙂

By giving it a good polish, you can also make it to a good eco-friendly product in the local market, tourist points, safaris, and even among small children.

How long this vege can be used for storing water ?

Well, it can be used for about an year as I have heard. Wow ! Isn’t it a great, timely alternative for plastic drinking water bottles ? The Weddas also used this as a utensil for storing honey.

There are other uses as well of this bottle gourd which I am hoping to write more about in a future post.

Thank you for stopping by to read …… hope you enjoyed reading it !

Tropical Flavors : Pineapple

These images of some pineapples are captured in to my camera at Horana, Sri Lanka. Pineapples are commonly seen these days in the markets in Sri Lanka. We have been buying them for few weeks now. Its authentic tropical fruity flavor is very much in demand for salads, puddings, baking, drinks etc.

Pineapple – a rich tropical flavor

Navam Full MOON – 2021

This picture was taken on the full moon poya day, around 7pm IST at the Eastern Sky…. The sky was cloudy but I was lucky to capture this.

The moon was bright, i got to look at it through a slight sheen of clouds… still it was too bright, the image lighting had to be controlled intentionally for obtaining clarity.

‘Autumn’ in Sri Lanka, 2021

Sri Lanka, a beautiful country near the Equator, does not experience all four seasons but the two main; Dry (in the months of Feb to Apr) and Wet (May, June,July). However, there have always been signs from nature to tell us that the things have just started to happen around the world….

One of those signs are the coldest mornings in January which really reminds about Autumn experiencing countries. Another nature sign i noticed as a child those days was the color change of the leaves in ‘Kottamba’ tree. For me, it is the most remarkable observation among the trees. These colors look almost similar to the colors of Autumn experiencing countries far from the equator.

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A curious search for herbs at grandparent’s Place ….

This is a post which I wanted to post since last year 2020, but waited for some more work to be done. Nevertheless, i decided to publish these images on the go !

We were excited by the different plants available at grandpa’s place , in his home garden … Plants that we usually don’t see around…. One day as he started describing a couple of new plants he planted by himself, we got quite keen to know more about them. Above are some pictures I have taken while he was telling some uses of these plants. It’s just amazing ! is only what we could thought.

The uses of these plants he was telling, we thought it’s no wonder, that he is an ayurvedic practitioner with inherited knowledge and a skillful, passionate ayurvedic oil/paste maker (for some years by now) which often resulted in good use of them even by his family members .

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Refresh with Nature