Sri Lanka


Figure 1.--A Sri Lankan reader tells us, "These four rural boys are around age 13-15 years old. They are wearing a variety of casual shirts and short pants of varied length. The boy who is standing is wearing faded blue colour mid-thigh length school shorts and the boy who sitting in the right corner of the photo is wearing very brief blue colour school shorts. The boy who is sitting in the left corner is wearing brief khaki shorts, also probably school shorts."

Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean south of India. The country was called Ceylon as a British colony. A British readers, Trevor tells us a little about his time in Ceylon as a little boy. We are just beginning to acquire basic information on Sri Lanka at this time. We are developing some basic information on Sri Lanka history. Recorded history begins with the arrival of Prince Vijaya (543 BC). Ceylon moved toward independence as India became independent. The counrry achieved dominion status within the Commonwealth (1948). Buddhism is the majority religion in Sri Lanka. While Buddhism largely died out in India, it has continued to thrive in Sri Lanka. A Sri Lanka source explains, "Buddhism is the lime light of Sri Lankan Civilization from ancient times. Everything about Sri Lankan life related to Buddhism. Buddhism practiced in Sri Lanka is called Theravada which's main focus is to give priority to the philosophy of living a simple life." We have some limited information about boys' clothing in Sri Lanka. Climate and income levels are major factors affecting children clothes in Sri Lanka. The climate is tropical. As a result, usually only very light-weight clothing is needed. Income levels are relatively low. Thus most families can not afford exensive outlays for children's clothing. Many boys wear casual shirts and short pants. We note many Sri Lanka children go barefoot. Flip flops are also common. We do note a group of boy dancers in the 1930s. Most Sri lanka schools require the children to wear school uniforms. here is no national uniform. Each school establish their own uniform and dress code rules. Often the casual clothes boys wear are outgrown school uniforms.

Geograaphy

Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean south of India.

History

Sri Lankan recorded history, called the Mahavamsa or “Great History” began with the arrival of the Aryan Prince Vijaya who conquered the indigenous people (543 BC). He established the first Sinhalese kingdom. The next era was the early-Anuradhapura period (about 250 BC). King Devanampiya Tissa was the first ruler in the dynasty. It was during this period that a sapling of the Lord Buddha's sacred Bo Tree reached Sri Lanka. It was under this tree that the Lord Budda attained enlightenment. Anuradhapura became a major Buddhist center. King Kasyapa is associated with the late-Anuradhapura Period (459- ). He oversaw the construction of Sigiriya. The next period was the Polonnaruwa. The capital was moved from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa (1073). Three kingdomes became established. The Portugues and the Dutch which followed them defeated the coastal kingdomes, but were unable to successfully penetrate the inland kingdom of Kandy. The spices of the island were a powerful attraction. The British seized the island from the Dutch after the outbreak of the French Revolutuon (1796). It was the British who finally defeated Kandy. The British developed plantations, but Sinhalese resisted wirking on the plantations. The British imported more compliant workers from south India. Many Sinhalese peasants were unable to compete with the plantatioins and lost their land. The indpendence movement grew in strength following World war I. Brirain granted indeoendence as a dominion within the Commonwealth (1948).

Economy


Garments

We have some limited information about boys' clothing in Sri Lanka. Climate and income levels are major factors affecting children clothes in Sri Lanka. The climate is tropical. As a result, usually only very light-weight clothing is needed. Income levels are relatively low. Thus most families can not afford exensive outlays for children's clothing. There is some information avilable on traditional clothing which share many similarities with southern India. A factor here is the Tamil population, anthnic group inhabiting southern Indua and northern Sri Lanka. Traditionally people generally went topless, both men and women. Here climate was factor. They might draped clothing over their chests and shoulders, but they mostly went topless. This changed with the arival of the Portuguese (16th century). European Christians, first the Portuguese and then the Dutch, were disturbed by the open display of women's breasts. Thus gradually women and girls began covering up. Thus traditional styles were influenced by the Europeans, although European sensibilities had less impact on trditional male clothing. And after the British seized control (19th century), Western clothing gradually became increasingly common--especially for children. While Western clothes became widely worn in the 20th century, colorful traditional styles remained very popular with women and girls when dressing up. Casual Western clothing is very widely worn. Many boys wear casual shirts and short pants. We note many Sri Lanka children go barefoot. Flip flops are also common.

Activities

We notice some of the outfits worn by Sri Lanka boys for a range of different activities. We do note a group of boy dancers in the 1930s. Sri Lankan education has been affected by political and religious trends. The Aryan Indian Prince Vijaya conquered Sri Lanka who estanlished a Singhalese kingdom (6th century BC). Buddhism reached Sri Lanka (3rd century BC) and became the dominant religion. Anuradhapura became a great Buddhist religious site and important educational center. Unlike India itself, Hinduism did not supplant Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The education system of Sri Lanka until colonial times was primarily controlled by Buddhist monks and designed for a small elite. The Mogol emperors of India never conquered the country are brought Islam. Arab traders arrived (12-13 th century). The Portuguese estanlished comntrol over coastal areas (16th century). The Dutch seized control (1658). The Portuguese and the Dutch introduced modern schools to the island, but schools with religious purposes. The British seized the Dutch and native settlements during the war associated with the French Revolution and Napoleon. The British introduced modern secular education. The British colony was known as Ceylon. The country achieved its independence within the British Commonwealth (1948). The current name of Sri Lanka was adopted. Sri Lanka's current education has a strong British imprint. Sri Lanka's educational achievements since independence are some of the most impressive in the developing world. Most Sri lanka schools require the children to wear school uniforms. here is no national uniform. Each school establish their own uniform and dress code rules. Often the casual clothes boys wear are outgrown school uniforms. We note a variety of sports that are popular in Sri Lanka. They date to the British era. Many modern sports are essentially British creations.

Religion

Sri Lanka is an ethnically diverse multicultural country with a profound Buddhist heritage. There is an ethnic dimension to religion. The majority Sinhalese are predominately Buddhist. Some 70 percent of Sri Lankans today are Buddhists. It is essentially the stte religion. Buddhism was introduced to the island by the royal court from India (3rd century BC). It along with Gandhara (modern Afhganistan and other aewas northeast of India) were the first areas outside of India tha Buddhism spread. The country's Buddhist traditions varied over time, bit were assaulted by the Portuguese when they arrived (16th century). They considered Buddhism much like the Spanish did the Amerindian civilizations. They attacked the monasteries and monks. Missionaries who tried to convert the population to Christianity. The religion was in severe decline when the British seised contril of the island and this continued throughout the early- and mid-19th cntury as the British promoted Christinity as a 'civilizing' force. Sri Lanka soicierty was polarized. Christians had advantages while Buddhists were discriminated against. Three remarkable individuals then began a modern revival of a disappearing religion (late-19th century. Surprisingly one was an American. They modernized Buddhist education and learning. Ordained monks were brought in from Burma, by that time also part of he British Empire. Buddhist schools were reestablished which helped to encourage and promote Buddhist thought. Publications increased people’s interest in their Buddhist history. This led to the rebuilding of the old shrines and the thriving a once disappearing religion and culture. While Buddhism largely died out in India, it now thrives. A Sri Lanka source explains, "Buddhism is the lime light of Sri Lankan Civilization from ancient times. Everything about Sri Lankan life related to Buddhism. Buddhism practiced in Sri Lanka is called Theravada which's main focus is to give priority to the philosophy of living a simple life." Sri Lanka has also become a center of Western Buddhist scholarship. Other religions exist in Sri Lanka. The largest minonority religion is the Hinduism, primarily practiced by the Tamils. The preference given to Buddhism is a factor that gave rise to Tamil seprtism. Christianity and Islam is also practiced.

Ethnicity

Several different ethnic groups are found in Sri Lanka. These groups along with associated linguistic and religious differences have playefd a major role in Sri Lankan history, especially in recent years. There are four principal ethnic/religious groups: the Sinhalese, the Tamils, the Muslims, and the Burghers. The Buddhist Sinhalese are by far the largest group. There are also a number of smaller groups. Ome such group is the Rodya/Rodi people. Sri Lankan ethnic groups unlike ethnicity in most other countries are not based primarily on race or more ccurately physical features. This is a matter of some difference of opinion in Sri Lanka. Some insist that ethnicity is determined by phusical features and ancestry, the classic definition of ethnicity in most other countries. And there do seem to be some physical differences. The Tamils do seem to be generally darker than the Sinhalese. Here we do not yet know what DNA research has shown. Unlike Hindu India to the north, the Buddhist traditions of Sri Lanka have for the most part not promoted the social segregation of the different ethnic groups. Over time, however, historical developments have favored one group or the other. Modern Sri Lankan history is heavily influenced by these ethic differences, both the development of nationslist sentiment and the struggle for power and/or autonomy.







HBC






Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[About Us]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [Essays] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]



Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing national pages:
[Return to the Main Asian page]
[Return to the Main countries page]
[Afghanistan] [Armenia] [China] [India] [Japan] [Korea] [Malaysia] [Pakistan] [Sri Lanka] [Taiwan] [Tajikistan] [Uzbeckistan]




Created: 12:56 AM 3/11/2008
Last updated: 12:16 AM 2/12/2018