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Maldives

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About Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka Veddas (Aborigines of Sri Lanka)

Regions: hill-country
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Veddas (Aborigines of Sri Lanka)
The Veddas are the indigenous people or the aborigines of Sri Lanka. The Veddas ethnic origin dates back to the very dawn of evolution are considered to descend from the yakkas or are related to the hunting tribe called Vettar in South India or to the Savaras of India or the Mundari people. How this is possible? According to modern archaeological findings, Sri Lanka was connected to the Indian subcontinent for the past one million years up to as recently as only 7,000 years. During this vast period, many hundreds of nomadic groups of adivasis or indigenous people must have walked across for hunting and gathering activities to the land now and island, known as Sri Lanka. Iron Age peoples, by comparison, seen to have settled in Sri Lanka about 800-1000 BC, but others say 16,000 BC. Whatever the historical and literary reference may be, it is evident that a group called Veddas have lived in the jungle solitude in Sri Lanka throughout and remained in complete isolation for 2,500 years.

Veddas Today

In the forgotten past, the Vedda country was referred to as Vedda ratta, an area of about 2400 sq. miles. The area contains the whole of the present Batticaloa District parts of Polonnaruwa, Badulla and Monaragala Districts. In a sense the great portion of the population of the Eastern part of Ceylon appears at some time or other have been called Vedda rata.

Today, Veddas are still present in Sri Lanka but in small numbers near Dambana. Dambana is a remote jungle village of indigenous people renowned for its eco tourism prospects, situated about 300km from Colombo , Sri Lanka . The population of these indigenous Vedda people now consists of only about 350 families, a number significantly reduced from a once thriving community. Today the Veddas are so influenced by the imposing dominant cultures that they risk losing their traditions and what has been their livelihood for centuries. However, government and the Sri Lankan Tourist Board are trying to protect these great people.

However, Sri Lanka Veddas are remain determined that their way of life will continue into future generations. Visitors to this fascinating village have the opportunity to meet and chat with the people who live there, learn about their traditions, and gain a unique insight into their way of life.

Vedda Culture and Traditions

In the Vedda hunting community, in almost all their religious rites the arrow (dart, lance, Vel) takes the central role. The arrow or kanai is the predecessor of the lance or Vel. The forms of arrow used by them are of two types, the ordinary hunting arrow and the long bladed, short handled ritual arrow or the Āyudha. The arrows are about 3ft long and are headed with a sharp iron bit nearly six inches long and an inch wide. These arrows vary greatly in the size of their steelhead, Vedda arrows are wider near the stem. Worship takes the form of dancing and singing. It is directed by a priest usually called Kapura it is possible that there is another older name, referring to them which may have been recorded. The dancer becomes often inspired into ecstatic frenzy. An arrow is thrust on the ground and the Vedda dances around it in high frenzy with the ceremonial arrow in hand and hair let down. His offering are coconut, betel leaf, araconut and cooked rice. The arrow dance the simplest of the Vedda dance is performed imploring good luck in hunting or when a spell of ill luck has attended. Vedda boys learn archery from an early age even today.

Learn more about Sri Lanka Veddas at
http://www.vedda.org/

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