I am pleased to send this message of greetings to all Sri Lankan Hindus, as they join their fellow worshippers the world over in celebrating Maha Shiva Rathri.
This festival is of special significance as it is believed to be when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava or the cosmic dance of Shiva, that marks both primordial creation and preservation of the universe.
The celebrations on this day are marked by fasting and night-long vigils at temples, the lighting of lamps and making a special offering to Lord Shiva together with the chanting of prayers and hymns in his honour, by devotees.
The most visible aspect of this festival, the lighting of lamps, symbolizes the constant efforts by humans to dispel the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge and understanding. It also signifies the search for unity and harmony among people that transcends all differences in society.
The Hindus of Sri Lanka, who have a long tradition of friendship and harmony with all other communities in Sri Lanka, will gain more strength in their search for unity through reconciliation and understanding with the spirit of this festival.
I wish all Sri Lankan Hindus the blessings of Maha Shiva Rathri to realize their hopes for a better tomorrow.