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


Religion

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."

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. 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.

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.







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Created: 12:56 AM 3/11/2008
Last updated: 3:14 PM 12/30/2017