The Embassy of Sri Lanka in France commemorated the 76th Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka on 04 February 2024 in a vibrant and inclusive ceremony with the participation of the Sri Lankan community in France representing Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Malay and other communities, at the Huatian Chinagora Hotel in Paris.
The programme commenced with the hoisting of the National Flag to the playing of Magul Bera by the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the French Republic and the Permanent Delegate to UNESCO Manisha Gunasekera. This was followed by the singing of the National Anthem and a beautiful rendering of Jayamangala Gatha by the second- and third- generation children of the French Sri Lankan community. A two minutes' silence was observed in honour of national heroes and all those who sacrificed their lives on behalf of the Motherland.
Multi-religious Observances were delivered by Religious Leaders representing Buddhist, Hindu, Christian / Catholic and Islamic faiths. The Buddhist Religious Observances were led by the Chief Incumbent of the International Buddhist Centre in Le Bourget, the Chief Sangha Nayaka of France The Most Venerable Parawahera Chandaratana. The Thero in his sermon welcomed the representative and inclusive nature of the Independence Day celebrations. This was followed by the reading of the Independence Day Messages of the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka in Sinhala, Tamil and English, by the diplomatic staff of the Embassy.
Addressing the gathering, Ambassador Manisha Gunasekera highlighted the significance of commemorating Independence by the overseas Sri Lankan community. She referred to multiple means through which the community in France could become partners of Sri Lanka’s progress and prosperity, especially through trade, investment, tourism, business and investment links. She noted the 18% increase in exports from Sri Lanka to France in the year 2023 in comparison to 2022, which denoted the largest percentage increase in exports from Sri Lanka to any country in 2023, notwithstanding the challenges faced by the country. She extended her deep appreciation for the invaluable contribution made by the Sri Lankan business community in France towards enhancing economic ties between the two countries.
The Ambassador reiterated the invitation extended by the President of Sri Lanka to the young generation of French Sri Lankans to visit Sri Lanka, and to be engaged with the country in diverse fields which would lead towards mutual benefit. She also appreciated the many talents prevalent among the Sri Lankan community in France who are engaged in various professions and thus a source of pride for Sri Lanka.
The celebrations included many captivating dance and drum performances as well as Deshabimani Gee sung in Sinhala and Tamil demonstrating the rich and diverse cultural landscape of Sri Lanka. The cultural programme included Kandyan Dance by Thisaravi Art Academy; Kandyan fusion Dance by Sri Desi Dance Academy; Bharata Natyam by Vidya Cultural Institute and two independent dancers; and Ves Dance and Magul Bera by Thala Art Academy. The National Anthem was sung by students of the Paris Dhamma Chakkha Dhamma School and the Sunday School of "Our Lady Catholic Community” in France. The Jayamangala Gatha and Deshabimani Gee were sung by students of the Paris Dhamma Chakkha Dhamma School and the staff of the Sri Lanka Embassy.
The Sangha and other religious leaders were offered Dane before noon. Following the Vote of Thanks and the conclusion of the official celebrations, the invitees were treated to a sumptuous and authentic Sri Lankan lunch. Over 400 invitees representing various Sri Lankan Associations, independent groups, professionals, artists, sportsmen and women, as well as students belonging to all communities participated in the Independence celebrations.
The Embassy of Sri Lanka
06 February 2024