February 4th is Independence Day in Sri Lanka. This year, Sri Lankans will celebrate 65 years of independence from Great Britain.
Schoolchildren in Sri Lanka
A Christian worker in Sri Lanka said, “A Christian child has a time of devotion at home, then goes to school. Buddhist and Hindu children worship statues depicting their gods, and they offer white flowers to the statues as an offering. In school the Buddhist child is encouraged to bring flowers and oil for a lamp placed before a Buddha statue. [Buddha was the founder of Buddhism]
“It is also common to see non-Christian children wearing a white or colored thread around their wrist. They believe this keeps away evil and sickness, and that it helps them in their studies. Hindu girls wear a ‘pottu’ (dot) on their forehead to ‘keep away evil.’”
A report from Sri Lanka said that a 14-year-old Catholic student at a Buddhist school was beaten by his teacher when he could not answer questions about Buddhist history. (Source: U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report)
Christians in Sri Lanka
In recent years, there has been more persecution of Christians in Sri Lanka. More than 250 churches have been destroyed in violence.
Game and Recipe to Share
Share the following game or recipe from Sri Lanka with a Sunday school class or other group. Then tell them about Christians in Sri Lanka and ask them to pray.
Kotta pora is a game played during spring celebrations in Sri Lanka. To play one version of kotta pora, players mark off a space about five feet and five feet. (Kotta pora is sometimes played on a low platform about that size.) Two players face each other with a pillow in one hand. Their other hand is held behind their back, and they stand on only one foot. The players bat at each other with the pillows until one player puts his raised foot down or hops out of the marked-off space. The other player is the winner.
Combine ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup water, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes until thickened, stirring frequently. Sprinkle ground ginger over three bananas peeled and cut in half lengthwise. Pour hot mixture over bananas. Chill and serve.
Read more stories about Sri Lanka: A Camp That Heals, Part 1 and A Camp That Heals, Part 2.