Sri Lanka Day Expo and Parade worldwide virtual event | Daily FT


  • A spectacular presentation of Sri Lanka’s dance, music, crafts and merchandise on a global stage on 13-14 August

By Nandasiri Jasentuliyana

Sri Lanka-themed virtual global celebration will be launched in the United States on the Sri Lanka Foundation International platform, introducing to a worldwide audience Sri Lanka’s historical heritage and culture, music, dance forms, and local food and products. All that and more, while being entertained by breath-taking cultural performances, you can enjoy lounging in the comfort of your living room.

If that were not enough, a dazzling parade would pass by you, and a glittering fashion show will be brought to the living room, bringing post-COVID fashions never before seen. The show will originate from Australia and Sri Lanka. Patrons will not only be entertained with a variety of such attractive offerings; you will also be invited to special presentations in the networking lounge relating to education, medical, culture, and cooking.

This unique virtual event takes place on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 August 2022, when traders, manufacturers, and service providers, will meet virtually all under one roof to market their products, network, and do business.  It will also serve as a business platform for Sri Lankan traders to make inroads into the global market and develop strategic partnership programs with Australian, British, Canadian, and US firms while virtually meeting and networking with them. Added highlights for the vendors and sponsors will include audio and video features in the booths to directly speak with the customers. 

The auditorium will be available to present promotional videos of their businesses during the cultural performances. The platform will open a few days early and will remain open a few days later for people who missed the event on the weekend.

When the annual Sri Lanka Day was last celebrated in the historic city of Pasadena in 2019, the thousands of visitors who filed along the historic route of the New Year’s Day Rose Parade gasped in amazement as they watched the ‘Pageant of Lanka,’ a miniature Kandy Perahera with decorated elephants on rollers and traditional Sri Lankan dancers, parading on the streets of Los Angeles. That day, Sri Lanka took its rightful place among the ethnic festivals held in America.

This year, Sri Lanka Foundation International is organising the event on a virtual platform for the second successive year, making the pre-COVID era annual Sri Lanka Day celebrations in Los Angeles a worldwide event. Although virtual events are not quite like seeing an event in person, these “quarantine events” play a fascinating role in keeping the public arts alive while public life is in lockdown.

Throughout the two-day festivities, it will feature events staged from around the world when the sights and sounds and the unique taste of Sri Lanka will virtually come alive. Mesmerising dance and music performances will be staged throughout the two days. It will feature Sri Lankan traditional music, dances, art, and theatre staged from Sri Lanka, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, and India. 

The performances are to be interspersed with a cultural fashion show with Sri Lankan models showcasing Sri Lankan costumes on the catwalk. The audience will also be treated to a tour de force of Sri Lankan art, artefacts, fashionable clothing, jewellery, sweets, spices, and food to promote indigenous products and entrepreneurs.

Sri Lanka Day celebrations are sponsored and organised by the Sri Lanka Foundation, based in Los Angeles, California, a brainchild of Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, a leading expatriate physician who came to the US in the early 1960s. In 2003, he established the Foundation to promote Sri Lankan cultural activities in the US. 

The mega event is co-sponsored by a leading group of Sri Lankans and Sri Lankan companies, including Mohan Chandramohan, Aura Lanka Herbal Products, Bold Gems, HSBC, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Hatch’ Delmege Forsyth and Co. Ltd., Ceilan Coir Products Export, Salota International, Mireka Homes Havelock City, Jmed, Uniformity, Raju Rasiah Jewelers, Rupavahini (Ethera Methara), Derana TV, and ITN. 

According to the organisers, the Sri Lanka Day celebrations this year will have a global audience exceeding 50,000, and the event will exceed the standards set by long-established ethnic events anywhere. It should be a matter of pride to every Sri Lankan that their compatriots can stand side by side with other nations wherever they may be. 

For more information, see Vendors, see Vendor manual 2022. 

To watch the festival, register online as guest:

(The writer is Former Deputy Director-General, United Nations, Director, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and President Emeritus, Inter-national Institute of Space Law and Policy.)