The 66th National Day of Sri Lanka was celebrated in Vienna by the Sri Lankan community and friends of Sri Lanka in Austria as well as the representatives of the diplomatic corps, and business and academia on 04th February 2014.
An official ceremony took place with the hoisting of the national flag and the singing of national anthem in the early morning of 04th February. This was followed by the blessings invoked on the country and its people by the religious leaders representing the four religions in Sri Lanka, namely the Most Ven. Wijayarajapura Seelawansa Thero of the Vienna Buddhist Centre, Rev. Madam Geetha Nayak of Hindu Council, Rev. Father Laurence Edirisinghe and Imam Kadir Hoca Mohammad. The members of the Sri Lankan community and friends of Sri Lanka in Vienna, joined by the staff of the Embassy of Sri Lanka participated in this event, which was addressed by Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez. Reading out the message of His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the occasion of the 66th National Day, Ambassador Azeez outlined the progress achieved by the Government in addressing the multi-faceted challenges and in leading the country towards prosperity.
An evening reception took place in the Mission’s Conference Hall on the same day, followed by a programme featuring diverse cultural aspects of Sri Lanka including Sri Lankan music and traditional dancing, in the backdrop of an exhibition of photographs. A large gathering of Ambassadors based in Vienna, Austrian officials, representatives of international organisations, trade and tourism sectors and academia attended the event. Sri Lankan Ethnomusicologist and singer Dr. Lasanthi Kalinga and her ensemble performed Sri Lankan music to an enthralled audience, who were also treated to a performance of traditional Sri Lankan dances by Ms. Pavitra Fernando, Ms. Simone and Ms. Julia Nuland. Guests who attended both events enjoyed the traditional Sri Lankan hospitality extended by the staff of the Embassy including a gift of a traditional Sri Lankan handicraft.
In his address at the evening reception cum cultural event, Ambassador Azeez highlighted the rich tapestry of heritage and culture that the country is endowed with, elaborating how it contributes to strengthening the sense of national togetherness among its people. He called for support to further consolidate the achievements made in peace building and development of the country.
The diplomatic corps also took this opportunity to congratulate Sri Lanka on its assumption of the Chairmanship of the G-77 Vienna Chapter.