Cultural Roots Behind Paddy Cultivation

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    Cultural roots behind paddy cultivation

    The Importance of Rice Cultivation in Sri Lankan Culture

    For more than half of the world’s population, rice forms the fundamental basis of a hearty meal. For Sri Lankans, like many of its South Asian counterparts, this is no different. In fact, some locals eat rice for all three meals of the day. But to really understand the relationship between rice and its cultural implications for locals, one has to dig deep into traditional lifestyles found in rural villages. Read on for our short guide on the customs associated with cultivation in Sri Lankan to understand this local love affair with rice.

    The Life Blood of a People

    When touching down in Sri Lanka, tourists will no doubt be impressed by the lush greenery of the island and of course its paddy fields. The cultivation of paddy from time immemorial became the life blood of farming communities, paving the way for rituals and celebrations which centered around different stages of paddy farming. Even to this day rituals are centered around activities such as harvesting the paddy and preparing the field.

    Moving Up the Hierarchical Ladder With Paddy Cultivation

    During 161 BC paddy was cultivated in the historical city of Anuradhapura and it continued till 1017AD. The huge harvests once earned the country the title of Granary of the East. As paddy cultivation started to blossom, the lifestyles of communities also evolved bringing people together to become involved in a collective sense. ?Also, paddy farmers at the time were looked up to by society as those that fed the nation. Further, those in the local Sinhalese cast system ascended the hierarchy, earning royal patronage as a community that looked towards alleviating the hunger of the people.

    Bringing Communities Together

    A successful harvest in days of old was dependent on the number of people who came together. Cultivation brought together land owners and tenant farmers who worked either individually or together with other farmers and then shared their produce. Activities such as seeding and harvesting are labour intensive tasks and every farmer had to work in cohesion with others. ?The most looked forward to time was the harvest and many villagers were brought together whether they were farmers or craftsman to do their bit. Today, a rice and curry meal still brings people together and it is not uncommon to see people share a packet of rice digging in with their fingers. If one thing is true of Sri Lankans, is that they express themselves through food. They are happiest when sharing a meal or offering one to someone else, preferably a rice and curry meal prepared at home.

    Villas in Sri Lanka with a Paddy Field View

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