The annual UNESCO spearheaded International Vesak celebrations - 2018, generally organized under the aegis of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Paris with the coordination of all Asia Pacific UNESCO members kicked off under the theme, ‘Promotion of Peace and Non-Violent Buddha's Way of Life' on Tuesday (24) on a grand scale at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.
A 16-member aesthetically-skilled cultural troupe of the Directorate of Army Band, Drama and Art Performances of the Sri Lanka Army in response to a request, made to the Commander of the Army by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Paris, went to France on 22 May to perform traditional cultural dances during the International Vesak Festival that would continue for a few days.
On receipt of the request, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army instructed Brigadier Fariz Yousaf, Director, Directorate of Army Band, Drama and Art Performances of the Sri Lanka Army to dispatch a dancing team to the UN Vesak celebrations in Paris.
Meanwhile, Buddhi K. Athauda, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in France after the Army cultural troupe staged their artistic skills on the inaugural day (24) in a special message to the Commander of the Army heaped a lot of praise on Army performances.
The Ambassador in his brief message had this to say; “Your dance troupe made a great impression at the Vesak celebrations and it was the best ever Vesak celebrations we had in Paris. We topped it. Thank you so much for your support and sending your Army dance troupe to Paris.”
‘Vesak’ commemorates Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and His Parinirvana (passing away). In 1999, the UN recognized International Vesak Day, following recommendations made by Sri Lanka through her Foreign Ministry. Since then the day is commemorated annually at the UN Headquarters and other UN offices and missions.
Meanwhile, a similar 16 - member contingent of the Army cultural troupe sent to Malaysia is set to stage their performances at Buddhist Maha Vihara premises in Brickfields, Malaysia during 26 May to 1 June where the first ever Vesak Pandol is on display.