It’s that time of the year again. New resolutions are abound. Everyone’s planning to start the new year and new decade on a high note. But how you step into your New Year’s Eve may not exactly be how your friend or neighbor decides to take on their next 365 days. Let me take you down memory lane to recap some ways that I have brought out the midnight madness here in Colombo


I’ve spent a few “12 O’clock-s” partying under the Colombo sky – frolicking in festivities, surrounded by loved ones and a plethora of fireworks displays, waiting for that ten-second countdown. It’s those hats, confetti and noisemakers that really spice up the New Years Celebrations, be it on the beach or inside a hotel room. Just standing on my tip toes trying to get a glimpse of those fireworks over the uncountable number of heads is always a highlight. Not forgetting the weird dancer over here, the annoying singer over there and the constant talker you are bound to encounter wherever you go! Without these little specifics, a New Year’s Eve dance wouldn’t be a New Year’s Eve dance.


There are also ways to make a quieter transition to the new year, I’ve joined family to take part in religious services and share blessings and well wishes with each other. Church services at midnight have been around for as long as I can remember. People gather by the masses to give thanks and invoke blessings for the next year.


A few of my friends even welcome the new year by gathering together with family to boil milk and share local treats, a tradition usually reserved for the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year in April. Sitting around that pot of milk waiting to spill over brings a feeling of peace that you cannot describe.

Boiling milk is traditionally used to signify the coming of prosperity within Sinhalese and Tamil cultures. This is part of the reason why it’s usually followed during the New Year festivities in April. Nevertheless, many families around the country celebrate the New Year sticking to this tradition, followed by the spread of a table of with local festive treats.


NYE parties weren’t really that popular in Sri Lanka till about the beginning of this decade. I still remember a newspaper ad around 2010 for a NYE party that boasted an all-inclusive package, priced at a substantial amount. Today I see most people in Colombo shedding that amount without hesitation, for a night full of memories -albeit a little blurred- with their friends and family. I mean who can resist dancing under the stars (or a lit-up roof if you’re indoors), to the sound of some splendid music, till your feet ache with the ones you love.


A new year always brings new hope to the people no matter where they stand in life and no matter how you celebrate it. It’s a time where you see Colombo gather putting aside their differences to look forward to the future with hope. 2019 was a rollercoaster ride for our little island nation. We gained a lot of wins as a country, but we also had to encounter dark and grievous times. And we only survived through the unity of our people.


No matter how you decide to spend the last day of the year, the various ways people celebrate the dawn of the New Year is testament to the same unity among us. A bond that will not easily be severed. Here’s to hoping that this New Year will only strength the bonds we have bringing us roaring success an individual, as a city and as a country.


By: Nelaka Fernando