Saturday, May 9, 2009

Vesak: Times have changed.

image from

I’ve been making Vesak lanterns since I could remember. The colorful tissue paper and the pappa (glue made from mixing flour and hot water) are the first indicators of Vesak. Kids flocking into shops playing havoc with the mudalali in selecting tissues are a very common sight within the month of May.

Vesak is a time of bright colorful lights breaking the dullness of the Sri Lankan nocturnal skies. It’s a time where the behavioral patterns of people change. People actually tend to give stuff for free! and they also tend to acquire a temporary syndrome of compassion, and comradeship. Its just plain weird.

I have been feeling less and less “vesakier” as the years pass by. This year the excitement has totally gone..almost. Nonetheless I did make a vesak lantern! I went to a small shop on way home to purchase some tissue paper and I noticed an odd looking lantern….Cripes! It’s made of plastic. I’ve seen metal ones and timber ones..but plastic? The good thing about this one was that it could be de-assembles and re-assembled, it looked like something made out of my meccano-set which I played around with when I was a kid.

What’s the whole deal about Vesak lanterns anyway? I always thought they symbolized impermanence of life. Vesak lanterns are supposed to burn away or get weathered with rain, ultimately it should break.

One of the most innovative Vesak lanterns I saw this year was not in actuality but in the cyber goo of facebook. The whole lantern is made out of discarded CD's. I really don’t know to whom this belongs to, it just popped out from my FB account.

I guess Vesak is moving up with the times. Any way its green! it?