Sunday, August 19, 2018

Laos - Traditionally Lao Women's Clothing 2017

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 8 March 2017 
Stamp Size: 31 mm x 46 mm
Design: Vongsavanh Damlongsouk 
Perforation: 12¾ x 13
Quantity: 10,000 pieces
Quantity: 1,000 (SS Perforation)
Quantity: 1,000 (SS Non-Perforation)
Color: Multi Color
Printing Process: Offset
Printing: Vietnam Stamps Printing

Laos Traditional Costumes

Like Cambodians and Thais, Laotians wear glamorous traditional costumes which reflecting the richness of their spiritual life and sense of art. Costumes of Laotians diversified among different ethnics, presenting their distinguished concept about nature.
The first sign to recognize Lao women is their traditional silk skirt called as Sinh. Travelling along Mekong River, you will easily find Lao women in sinh working on the fields, selling agricultural products or performing traditional dance. As written in Traditional Dress Key to Preserving Culture that “The styles of sinh not only represent the variety and abundance of our natural resources, but also the inner hearts and minds of the people”, sinh is worn with pride of Laos women about their homeland.

In terms of design, sinh is quite simple as it is a tube skirt made of silk or cotton. However, this simple skirt may lure your eyes due to its delicate embroidery motifs. Sinh are diversified in terms of colors, motifs and designs among people of different culture, social status, communities and regions. Regularly, sinh includes 3 parts: the houa sinh (waistband), pheun sinh (body, main part) and the tdin sinh (hem).

Traditionally, Lao women often wear sinh as the lower part with blouses over the waist. Sinh worn by Lao women in daily life is quite simple with a little decoration. However, for important ceremonies, they often wear glamorous sinh with sophisticated embroidery motifs and even jewelry.

Lao men often wear yao or hang – a wrapped around skirt. It is simply designed with two ends twisted together, pulled between the legs and fixed into the waist band at the back. However, it takes a great amount of time to make yao or hang as it is made of heavy plied silk and delicate embroidered.

Overall, traditional costume of Laos is such a work of art, reflecting skillful handicraft technique as well as culture of Laotians. Laotians’ costume is one of the factors making the simple but attractive beauty of “the Land of Elephant”.

Sinh (clothing):
The sinh (Lao: ສິ້ນ, Lao pronunciation: [sȉn]; Thai: ซิ่น, Thai pronunciation: [sîn]) is a traditional garment worn by Lao and Thai women, particularly Northern Thai and Northeastern Thai women. It is a tube skirt which can identify the woman who wears it in a variety of ways. In particular, it can indicate which region the wearer is from. In present-day Thailand, sinhs are typically worn in special events. However, in Laos sinhs are worn more regularly in daily life

A typical Tai Yuan sinh.
A Sinh is typically composed of three components:
1.  Hua Sinh (Lao: ຫົວສິ້ນ), literally "the head of the sinh", is the waistband part, which is typically tucked in and hidden.

2.  Phuen Sinh (Lao: ພື້ນສິ້ນ) or tua sinh (Thai: ตัวซิ่น), literally "the body of the sinh", is the body part which is the main part of the sinh. This part of the sinh is typically not detailed. In particular, it typically only consists of one or two colors.

3.  Tin Sinh (Lao: ຕີນສິ້ນ), literally "the foot of the sinh", is the hem part. The hem is typically woven with a lot of details. The specific details of the hem can indicate where the sinh is made.

The sinh is made of silk, woven in ornate motifs with delicate embroidery. They come in different textures and designs and are usually created in rural areas by ethnic groups.

Laos - Lao Traditional Wedding 2016

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 19 December 2016
Design: Vongsavanh Damlongsouk 
Perforation: 12¾ x 13
Quantity: 10,000 pieces
Quantity: 1,000 (SS Perforation)
Quantity: 1,000 (SS Non-Perforation)
Color: Multi Color
Printing Process: Offset
Printing: Vietnam Stamps Printing

Picture Descriptions:
8000 Lao Kip - Procession To The House Of The Bride Parents
8000 Lao Kip - Wedding Suisses Of The Bride Parents
8000 Lao Kip - Dressing The Bride By The Bride Mother
8000 Lao Kip - Couple After The Wedding

Laos Wedding Ceremony: 

Traditional wedding dress of Laos

The Laos traditional wedding ceremony has been around for generations and very important for younger generations to pass down. A Laos wedding ceremony, or suu khwan, is full of traditions involving the entire village or community. The marriage is taken seriously by Laotians and all parties involved, and it’s considered as a lifelong commitment made by the couple. In the eyes of the Buddhist religion, the marriage is recognized and sacred, but the wedding ceremony need not be conducted in the presence of monks and is usually performed at the bride’s home.

The wedding ceremony takes place can either be in the morning or afternoon. The family members take responsibilities of preparing food for the luncheon reception. The bride, begins her preparations earlier than the groom since her costume is much more intricate. She wears a traditional Laotian wedding outfit consisting of sinh, a Laotian silk shirt, and paa bien, a scarf, both made from raw silk, and decorates her hair in a traditional bun with ornate gold jewelry. The style of the wedding outfit and hair will vary depending on the family’s wealth and the region of Laos they are from. The guests, mainly family and close friends, gather at the bride’s family’s home.

The ceremony commences when the groom, along with his family and friends, leads a procession from his family’s home through the village to the bride’s home. Upon arrival, the groom’s entourage must convince the bride’s family of his worth before he can enter the house and wed his bride. The ceremony continues with more blessings for the bride and groom, as the guests tie the white strings to the bride’s and groom’s wrists. The string-tying, provides an opportunity to share a personal message and blessing with the bride and groom. The ceremony is followed by the lunch reception. At the end of the wedding day, an evening reception, often held at a hall or hotel, features live traditional Laos music, dancing, speeches and delicious Laos food.
Preparing for traditional wedding in Laos

Laos Wedding:
Today, most people split their wedding into two parts, one is a traditional Laos wedding ceremony and the other is a modern wedding reception. Some have the traditional Laos wedding ceremony at home in the morning, when Baci ceremony takes place, and some do it in the afternoon. Only close friends and relatives are invited to join the Baci part. Whether the Baci takes place in the morning or afternoon, food and drinks are served to the guests at the end of the ceremony. The reception is then held in the evening, when more guests are invited, at a hotel, a restaurant, a hall specially caters for weddings or somewhere that could hold more people. This practice is more common among city people.
Lao Bride and Groom in traditional costume 

The traditional Laos wedding is usually held at the bride’s family home. In the past the Laos wedding was always in the morning which was believed to be convenient and best time for a joyful celebration such as wedding ceremony to take place, whereas the afternoon is considered the time for sad ceremonies like cremations. However, with modern lifestyles convenience has become more important so the time doesn’t really matter any more.

Generally, 10:00am and 4:00pm are usually considered the best times because guests are invited to have lunch or dinner after the official ceremony is finished.

Bride Price:
The wedding preparations start with the Sou Khor (bride-price negotiation) procession.

The bride-price is usually money and gold, but it can be anything valuable. Traditionally this is asked by the bride's parents as a refund for the breast milk that has been fed to the bride since she was born (literally translated from Lao). How much? depends on the family social status of both sides. Nowadays many parents don't ask for anything so long that their daughter is happy.

When both sides negotiate and agree on the bride-price and all other details then they set the wedding date.

Engagement is not that common in Laos. Some couples get engaged before their wedding while many others don't bother with the engagement at all. There are no set rules really, especially nowadays when life style of many Lao has changed.

The Best Day for Laos Wedding Procession:
Traditionally, the wedding date has to be on a good day in lunar calendar, so parents of either or both sides usually consult elders or senior ex-monks, who have good knowledge of Lao custom and tradition, before the wedding date is set. One thing most Lao knows is that the wedding is not supposed to take place during the three months Khao Phansa (Buddhist Lent, late July - late October).

Today this procession has been slightly changed to suit modern lifestyles and sometimes the couple agrees on most of the details (including the bride-price) and they set the date to suit their busy lives. When it comes close to the wedding day, this Sou Khor procession is organised just for the sake of Lao custom or tradition.

Laos Wedding Preparation:
The night before the Laos wedding takes place, an informal ceremony is held at the bride-to-be’s home, and sometimes the groom holds the same ceremony at his place as well. This is called Oun Dong (literally translated: wedding or marriage warming) and it only involves close friends and relatives who come to help with wedding preparations as well as to eat and drink. The things to prepare include Pha Khuan (handmade marigold pyramid made of banana leaves and flowers), food for the big day and the new couple’s bedroom. In this room tradition demands the bed must be made by the mother of the bride or an older female who has a good family (with a good husband and good children and who is not divorced, or a widow).

Pha Khuan: handmade marigold pyramid made of banana leaves & flowers, surrounded by fruits, drink, cooked sticky rice in baskets, boiled eggs and chicken. All make a set of Pha Khuan

The Big Day:
On the big day, the bride is dressed with a traditional Lao silk Sinh (Lao skirt), and silk blouse, and has her hair tied up in a special way with gold decoration. This ensemble is finished off with a gold necklace, bracelets, earrings and a bell.

The groom also gets dressed up usually with white or cream colored silk shirt and a traditional silk Salong (a pair of baggy pants). Sometimes grooms wear normal pants and suits as some find Salongs uncomfortable.

Laos 2011 - Lao Ethnic

Date of Issue: 31 January 2011
Perforation: comb 13
Printing: Offset Lithography
Size: 31 x 46 mm
Colors: Multicolor

1,000 ₭ - Lao Kip - Lolo Ethnic
3,000 ₭ - Lao Kip - Mong Luangnamtha Ethnic
4,000 ₭ - Lao Kip - Lahu Ethnic
5,000 ₭ - Lao Kip - Hiumieng Ethnic
8,000 ₭ - Lao Kip - Katang Ethnic

Angola - Day of Africa 2010

Date of Issue: 25 May 2010

Africa Day

Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day) is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (now known as the African Union) on 25 May 1963. It is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world.

The First Congress of Independent African States was held in Accra, Ghana on 15 April 1958. It was convened by Prime Minister of Ghana Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and comprised representatives from Egypt (then a constituent part of the United Arab Republic), Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon. The Union of South Africa was not invited. The conference showcased progress of liberation movements on the Africa continent in addition to symbolizing the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation. Although the Pan-African Congress had been working towards similar goals since its foundation in 1900, this was the first time such a meeting had taken place on African soil.

The Conference called for the founding of an African Freedom Day, a day to "...mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation."

The conference was notable in that it laid the basis for the subsequent meetings of Africa heads of state and government during the Casablanca Group and the Monrovia Group era, until the formation of the OAU in 1963.

Five years later, on 25 May 1963, representatives of thirty African nations met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hosted by Emperor Haile Selassie. By then more than two-thirds of the continent had achieved independence, mostly from imperial European states. At this meeting, the Organisation of African Unity was founded, with the initial aim to encourage the decolonisation of Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. The organisation pledged to support the work conducted by freedom fighters, and remove military access to colonial nations. A charter was set out which sought to improve the living standards across member states. Selassie exclaimed, "May this convention of union last 1,000 years."

The charter was signed by all attendees on 26 May, with the exception of Morocco. At that meeting, Africa Freedom Day was renamed Africa Liberation Day. In 2002, the OAU was replaced by the African Union. However, the renamed celebration of Africa Day continued to be celebrated on 25 May in respect to the formation of the OAU.

Contemporary Celebrations
Africa Day continues to be celebrated both in Africa and around the world, mostly on 25 May (although in some cases these periods of celebrations can be stretched out over a period of days or weeks). Themes are set for each year's Africa Day, with 2015's being the "Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063". At an event in New York City in 2015, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson, delivered a message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in which he said, "Let us... intensify our efforts to provide Africa’s women with better access to education, work and healthcare and, by doing so, accelerate Africa’s transformation".

Angola - African Women's Day 2010

Date of Issue: 31 July 2010

On July 31, 2009, was set aside by the Africa Union for "Celebrating African Women’s Day"! I am urging you to join us in our continuing efforts to advocate for quality Maternity services for our disadvantaged sisters who continue to die needlessly in underserved communities!!

Death and disability of women have profound public health, human rights, and socio-economic consequences for families, communities, and countries. The highest figures of these deaths are recorded in developing countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa where rates in some countries are as high as 2000 per 100,000 live births, compared to less than 10 per 100,000 in the developed world. Problems include poor quality of health services, poor accessibility and weak referral systems. In-order to achieve MDG 5, the importance of enabling environments to promote good health of women cannot be over-emphasized. Yet, until recently, there has been profound lethargy of political will to aggressively address maternal health!

The Regional Prevention of Maternal & Neonatal Mortality (RPMM) Network is a non- governmental organization (NGO), consisting a network of multidisciplinary and multi-sector teams of professionals, currently in 22 Sub-Saharan African countries , working to contribute to the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality in Africa, through capacity-building and advocacy. At our last regional review meeting in November 2008, it was agreed that the RPMM Network National Teams should consider celebrating the African Women’s Day, set aside for the 31 of July by the African Union.

The aim of celebrating the day is to draw attention to, and focus on addressing maternal and neonatal mortality in Africa. Our plan is to identify problems that need to be highlighted, first for that day and then follow up on the activities, to set targets on what we aim to achieve for the year, and beyond.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Spain - Spanish Military Uniform 1973-1978

(Click to view larger image)  

Issued on 17 July 1973:
1 Spanish Pesetas - Knight, Holy Fraternity of Castile, 1488
2 Spanish Pesetas - Knight, Castile, 1493, Horiz
3 Spanish Pesetas - Harquebusier, 1534
7 Spanish Pesetas - Mounted Rifleman, 1560
8 Spanish Pesetas - Infantry Sergeants, 1567

Issued on 05 January 1974:
1 Spanish Pesetas - Harquebusier on Horseback, 1603
2 Spanish Pesetas - Harquebusier, 1632
3 Spanish Pesetas - Cuirassier, 1635
5 Spanish Pesetas - Mounter Drummer of The Dragoons, 1677
9 Spanish Pesetas - Two Musketeers, 1694

Issued on 17 July 1974:
1 Spanish Pesetas - Hussar and Horse, 1705
2 Spanish Pesetas - Artillery Officers, 1710
3 Spanish Pesetas - Piper and drummer, Granada Regiment, 1734
7 Spanish Pesetas - Mounted Standard-Bearer, Numancia Dragoons, 1737
8 Spanish Pesetas - Standard-Bearer and Soldier, Zamora Regiment, 1739

Issued on 07 January 1975:
1 Spanish Pesetas - Sergeant and Grenadier, Toledo Regiment, 1750
2 Spanish Pesetas - Royal Artillery, 1762
3 Spanish Pesetas - Queen’s Regiment, 1763
5 Spanish Pesetas - Fusiliers, Vitoria Regiment, 1766
10 Spanish Pesetas - Dragoon, Sagunto Regiment, 1775

Issued on 17 July 1975:
1 Spanish Pesetas - Cavalry Officer, 1788
2 Spanish Pesetas - Fusilier, Asturias Regiment, 1789
3 Spanish Pesetas - Infantry Colonel, 1802
4 Spanish Pesetas - Artillery Standard-Bearer, 1803
7 Spanish Pesetas - Sapper, 1809

Issued on 17 July 1976:
1 Spanish Pesetas - Trumpeter, Alcantara Regiment, 1815
2 Spanish Pesetas - Sapper, 1821
3 Spanish Pesetas - Engineer in Dress Uniform, 1825
7 Spanish Pesetas - Artillery Infantry, 1828
25 Spanish Pesetas - Infantry Riflemen, 1830

Issued on 05 January 1977:
1 Spanish Pesetas - Outrider, Calatrava Lancers, 1844
2 Spanish Pesetas - Sapper, 1850
3 Spanish Pesetas - Corporal, Light Ciudad Infantry, 1861
4 Spanish Pesetas - Drum Major, 1861
20 Spanish Pesetas - Artillery Captain, Mounted, 1862

Issued on 16 July 1977:
1 Spanish Pesetas - Military Administration Official, 1875
2 Spanish Pesetas - Cavalry Lancers, 1883
3 Spanish Pesetas - General Staff Commander, 1884
7 Spanish Pesetas - Trumpeter, Divisional Artillery, 1887
25 Spanish Pesetas - Medical Corps Official, 1895

Issued on 05 January 1978:
1 Spanish Pesetas - Flag Bearer, 1908
2 Spanish Pesetas - Lieutenant Colonel, Hussar, 1909
3 Spanish Pesetas - Mounted Artillery Lieutenant, 1912
5 Spanish Pesetas - Engineers’ Cap- Monastery, Tain, 1921
12 Spanish Pesetas - Captain General, 1925

Great Britain - British Army Uniforms 1983

16 P - The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment)
20.50 P -The Royal Welch Fusiliers
26 P - The Royal Green Jackets
28 P- Irish Guards
31 P - The Parachute Regiment

Gibraltar - Bicentenary of Royal Engineer 1972

With more than 900 years unbroken service to the crown, the Kent-based Corps of Royal Engineers is among the British Army’s finest.
Its origins date back to William the Conquerer and this year the corps marks its 200th year at Brompton Barracks, near Gillingham.
The barracks are home to the Royal School of Military Engineering and next door the Royal Engineers Museum, where its history has been honoured in an exhibition.
The Early Engineers Gallery shows how the corps, commonly known as the Sappers, has evolved from designing castles and planning sieges to the professional role of today.
The history of the engineers on Gibraltar and their key role in defending the principality from the longest-ever siege on English soil, which ran from 1779 to 1783. The Royal Engineers in Gibraltar has built centuries of fortifications and defences alongside the miles of tunnels within the rock.
A third room in the gallery looks at the corps’ role in the Peninsular War in the 19th century. The war was a turning point for the Engineers as it led to the Engineer Establishment being opened on Brompton Barracks near Gillingham in 1812. This provided the first standardised training for Royal Engineers. Now known as the Royal School of Military Engineering, it celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.

British Virgin Islands - Pirate Uniforms 1970

0.05 Cents - Mary Read c1720
10 Cents - George Lowther c1722
30 Cents - Edward Teach (Black Beard) c1717
60 Cents - Henry Morgan c.1670

Barbados - Barbados Regiment, Military Uniforms 1980

0.12 Barbadian Dollar - Artillery Company c1909, Barbados Volunteer Force
0.35 Barbadian Dollar - Drum Major, Zouave Uniform
0.50 Barbadian Dollar - Sovereign's Colour & Regimental Colour
1.00 Barbadian Dollar - Barabados Regiment Corps of Women

Papua New Guinea - German New Guinea & British New Guinea Police 1978

10 Papua New Guinean Kina - Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary
15 Papua New Guinean Kina - Mandated New Guinea Constabulary 1921-1941
20 Papua New Guinean Kina - British New Guinea Armed Constabulary 1890-1906
25 Papua New Guinean Kina - German New Guinea Police 1899-1914
30 Papua New Guinean Kina - Royal Papua & New Guinea Constabulary 1906-1964

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Poland - Army of King John III Sobieski 1983

Technical Details:

Date of Issue: 5 July 1983 
WM: None 
Sheetsize: 50
Design: R. Dudzicki
Engraving: R Dudzicki, B Wroblewski
Perforation: 11½ by 11

5z Dragoons
5z Knight in armor 
6z Non-commissioned Infantry Officers
15z Light Cavalryman
27z Hussars

The 300th Anniversary of the Victory over the Turks on Kahlenberg near Vienna by King John III Sobieski

The Battle of Vienna (German: Schlacht am Kahlen Berge or Kahlenberg; Polish: bitwa pod Wiedniem or odsiecz wiedeńska (The Relief of Vienna); Modern Turkish: İkinci Viyana Kuşatması, Ottoman Turkish: Beç Ḳalʿası Muḥāṣarası) took place at Kahlenberg Mountain near Vienna on 12 September 1683 after the imperial city had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months. The battle was fought by the Habsburg Monarchy, the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire, under the command of King John III Sobieski against the Ottomans and their vassal and tributary states. The battle marked the first time the Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire had cooperated militarily against the Ottomans, and it is often seen as a turning point in history, after which "the Ottoman Turks ceased to be a menace to the Christian world". In the ensuing war that lasted until 1699, the Ottomans lost almost all of Hungary to the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I.

The battle was won by the combined forces of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the latter represented only by the forces of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland (the march of the Lithuanian army was delayed, and they reached Vienna after it had been relieved). The Viennese garrison was led by Ernst Rudiger Graf von Starhemberg, an Austrian subject of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I. The overall command was held by the senior leader, the King of Poland John III Sobieski, who led the relief forces.

The opposing military forces were those of the Ottoman Empire and Ottoman fiefdoms, commanded byGrand Vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha. The Ottoman army numbered approximately 90,000 to 300,000 men (according to documents on the order of battle found in Kara Mustafa's tent, initial strength at the start of the campaign was 170,000 men. They began the siege on 14 July 1683. Ottoman forces consisted, among other units, of 60 ortas of Janissaries (12,000 men paper-strength) with an observation army of some 70,000 men watching the countryside. The decisive battle took place on 12 September, after the united relief army had arrived.

Historians suggest the battle marked the turning point in the Ottoman-Habsburg wars, a 300-year struggle between the Holy Roman and Ottoman Empires. During the 16 years following the battle, the Austrian Habsburgsgradually recovered and dominated southern Hungary and Transylvania, which had been largely cleared of Ottoman forces. The battle is noted for including the largest known cavalry charge in history.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Romania - Guilds of Brasov 1995

Stamps Designer: M.Vămășescu
Perforation: 13¼

40 Romanian Leu - Tanar (Young Man)
60 Romanian Leu - Batran (Old Man)
150 Romanian Leu - Curcan
280 Romanian Leu - Dorobant
350 Romanian Leu - Brasovechean
500 Romanian Leu -Rosior
635 Romanian Leu - Albior

Norfolk Islands - Military Uniforms 1982

27 c - 50th (Queen's Own) Regiment
40 c - 58th (Rutlandshire) Regiment
55 c - 80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) Battalion Company
65 c - 11th (North Devonshire) Regiment

Pertugal - Moda Portugal, Portuguese Fashion 2004

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 10 November 2004
Width: 60.0 mm
Height: 31.5 mm
Denomination: 0.45 €
Number in set 10 (show set)
Perforations: 13.8 by 14
Stamp Issuing Authority: CTT Correios de Portugal SA
Printer: Cartor Security Printing

0.45 Euro - Portuguese Fashion - Alexandra Moura
0.45 Euro - Portuguese Fashion - Ana Salazar
0.45 Euro - Portuguese Fashion - Filiope Faisca
0.45 Euro - Portuguese Fashion - J. Branco/ L. Sanchez
0.45 Euro - Portuguese Fashion - J. Antonio Tenente
0.45 Euro - Portuguese Fashion - Luis Buchinho
0.45 Euro - Portuguese Fashion - Osvaldo Martins
0.45 Euro - Portuguese Fashion - Dino Alves
0.45 Euro - Portuguese Fashion - Alves/ Goncalves
0.45 Euro - Portuguese Fashion - Fatima Lopes

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Ireland - Military Uniform 1995

Ireland Military Uniforms:
Irish Brigade - French Army (28p)
Tercio Irlanda - Army of Flanders (32p)
Royal Dublin Fusiliers (32p) **
St Patrick's Battttalion - Papal Army (38p)
The Fighting 69th - Army of Potomac 1861 (52p)

Date of Issue: 15 May 1995
Design: David McAllister
Numbers Issued
28p: 1,000,000
32p: 1,000,000
32p: 1,000,000
38p: 500,000
52p: 500,000

Sri Lanka - Traditional Sinhalese Exorcism Ritual 2018

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 08 August 2018
Dimensions: 41mm x 30mm
Price: LKR 15.00
Issued Quantity: 500,000

Traditional Sinhalese Exorcism Ritual: 
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 01/18 (Bootha Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 02/18 (Abootha Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 03/18 (Beetha Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 04/18 (Bihiri Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 05/18 (Golu Sanniya) 
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 06/18 (Kora Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 07/18 (Amukku Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 08/18 (Naga Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 09/18 (Murthu Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 10/18 (Demala Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 11/18 (Ginjal Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 12/18 (Seethala Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 13/18 (Vatha Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 14/18 (Wedi Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 15/18 (Pith Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 16/18 (Kana Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 17/18 (Gulma Sanniya)
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - 18/18 (Dewa Sanniya)

Soevenir Sheet:
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - Traditional Sinhalese Exorcism Ritual (SS) Orange
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - Traditional Sinhalese Exorcism Ritual (SS) Yellow
90 Sri Lankan Rupee - Traditional Sinhalese Exorcism Ritual (SS) Green

Sanni Yakuma
Sanni yakuma, sometimes known as Daha ata sanniya is a traditional Sinhalese exorcism ritual. The ritual consists of 18 masked dances, each depicting a particular illness or ailment affecting humans. These 18 dances are the main dances of the Pahatharata, or low country, dancing form, which is one of the three main dancing forms of Sri Lanka. The ritual calls the demons who are thought to affect the patient, who are then told not to trouble humans and banished.

It was believed that illnesses were brought on humans by demons and these beliefs and rituals could have prehistoric roots.  According to folklore, the 18 demons who are depicted in the Sanni Yakuma originated during the time of the Buddha. The story goes that the king of Licchavis of Vaishali suspected his queen of committing adultery and had her killed. However, she gave birth when she was executed and her child became the Kola Sanniya, who grew up "feeding on his mother's corpse". The Kola Sanni demon destroyed the city, seeking vengeance on his father, the king.  He created eighteen lumps of poison and charmed them, thereby turning them into demons who assisted him in his destruction of the city.  They killed the king, and continued to wreak havoc in the city, "killing and eating thousands" daily, until finally being tamed by the Buddha and agreed to stop harming humans.

Each of these demons are believed to affect humans in the form of an illnesses, and the Sanni Yakuma ritual summons these demons and banishes them back to the demon world after bringing them under control. Although it is unclear when the ritual began, it has been performed in the southern and western parts of the country since ancient times

The name of the ritual comes from the Sinhala word sanniya meaning disease or ailment, and yakuma meaning demon ritual. In Sri Lankan culture, exorcism rituals are known as tovil. The Sanni Yakuma is possibly the best known exorcism ritual in the country. It is a mix of traditional beliefs regarding spirits with Buddhism. Before performing the healing ritual, the lead performer known as the yakadura determines whether the patient is affected by a demon, and schedules the ritual for an auspicious day and time, usually from dusk to dawn. The Edura or Yakadura is the Shaman Healer and is usually a fisherman, drummer or farmer. It has two main stages, namely the Ata Paliya and Daha Ata Sanniya. The dancers are dressed in colourful attire and masks, and perform swift and complex dance steps and spins accompanied by rhythmical drum beats. Rather comic and somewhat obscene dialogues take place between the drummer and the demon on stage, in which the demon is humiliated. For example, Moore and Myerhoff (1977) describe the following dialogue translated from Sinhala:

Drummer: Where are you off to?
Demon: I am off to Maradana by a first class express bus.
Drummer: ...What was it I saw you doing only yesterday? You pissed near the sacred bodhi tree, then shitted on the temple grounds after which you stole a monk's robes. What else have you done? ...
Demon: You peretaya!
Drummer: Aah – you are only a mad demon – beneath contempt

Ata Paliya
Ata Paliya is the name given to the eight dances in the first stage of the ritual. Before the dances begin, the Yakadura prepares some offerings for the demons, which will be given to them by the patient. The Ata Paliya depicts eight palis who bless the patient. This includes the Suniyan Yakshaniya who appears thrice as a beautiful damsel, a pregnant woman and a woman carrying a baby. This is followed by Maruwa (death) and demons called Kalu Yaka, Vatha Kumara and Kalu Kumara. The other palis are known as Anguru Dummala Paliya, Kalaspaliya and Salupaliya.

Daha Ata Sanniya
Although the Daha Ata Sanniya is part of the Sanni Yakuma, the name is sometimes used to refer to the ritual itself. This is the stage when the sanni demons make their appearance one after the other. The demons who first appear frightening when they enter the stage in frenzied dances are then shown as comic figures through enactments, with them being humiliated and forced to do various things. The Kola Sanni demon enters last, who is depicted as a non Buddhist demon. In the end, he is made to obtain the permission of the Buddha and accept offerings from humans, and agrees to stop troubling them. In the end, the dancer appears before the patient after removing the mask.

Although there are only eighteen demons, there is a variety of sanni masks that differ from place to place. However, the eighteen most commons masks (and names of the demons) are as follows:
DemonAssociated ailment
Amukku SanniyaVomiting and stomach diseases
Abutha SanniyaNon–spirit related insanity
Butha SanniyaSpirit related insanity
Bihiri SanniyaDeafness
Deva SanniyaEpidemic diseases
Gedi SanniyaBoild and skin diseases
Gini Jala SanniyaMalaria and other high fevers
Golu SanniyaDumbness
Gulma SanniyaParasitic worms and stomach diseases
Jala SanniyaCholera and chills
Kana SanniyaBlindness
Kora SanniyaLameness and paralysis
Maru SanniyaDelirium and death
Naga SanniyaBad dreams about snakes
Pissu SanniyaTemporary insanity
Pith SanniyaBilious diseases
Slesma SanniyaPhlegm and epilepsy
Vatha SanniyaFlatulence and rheumatism

Current Status
The Sanni Yakuma is still performed today, particularly along the south coast, though more often as a cultural spectacle than an exorcism ritual. However, it is not widely performed because of the high costs involved and also because of its long duration. The 2004 Indian Ocean Eartquake and Tsunami also has affected its survival. Though the coastal regions came under colonial influences as well as prior foreign influences, the art was best preserved in the south-west coast.


The Eighteen Masks – Dance Exorcisms Of The Low Country

Long before the advent of western medicine, Sri Lanka had its own indigenous system of medicine and ritualistic healing.In the ancient times, people in Sri Lanka believed they fell ill because various dark spirits—or demons—invaded their bodies. Because of this belief, various healing rituals with the purpose of expelling these demons were conducted. Commonly known as thovil in Sinhalese, the best known of all the shanthikarma is thedaha ata sanniya.

The ritual which can expel eighteen demons

According to this belief, eighteen demons or sanni yakku are responsible for different diseases, which can be cured by performing an exorcism. Even today, this ritual is practised in the hopes of exorcising the demons which are believed to cause suffering and chaos in people’s lives. The ritual is also practised as a traditional dance, by traditional dancers like the students of the University of Performing Arts in Colombo.

The ritual consists of 18 masks that represent each of the demons that cause the maladies, with one mask for the Maha Kola sanni yaka—the chief of these eighteen demons.

It therefore, calls for nineteen different masks in total to be worn by practised dancers who perform the ritual healing ceremonies. A shaman healer who conducts the ritual—called a yakendura in Sinhalese—is also present at the thovil.

During a thovil, the yakendura calls forth the sanni yaka responsible for the sickness that has affected the person in question, and a dancer decked in mask and costume comes forward. Then the patient presents an offering to the dancer wearing the sanni mask, symbolic of presenting an offering to appease the demon that caused their affliction. The exorcist commands the demon to leave the body of the sick person, after which the thovil dancer performs an elaborate dance to appease the sanni yaka.

Dewa sanniya
Cholera, typhoid, measles, mumps, chicken pox and other contagious diseases were said to be the work of the dewa sanni yaka. Because these diseases were epidemics that proved fatal, the ancients believed that they were caused by the gods. Due to this reason the mask of this sanni yaka was carved with a crown.

Watha sanniya
The ancients believed that abdominal conditions such as flatulence and gout were caused by the watha sanni yaka, and they held the belief that these ailments could be relieved by performing the ritualistic dance associated with the demon.

Pith sanniya
Bilious diseases—caused by an excessive secretion of bile—were believed to have been caused by the pith sanni yaka. A symptom of such a disease is jaundice (a yellow tinge in the skin or eyes), and because of this most of thepith sanniya mask faces were painted either yellow or orange.

Amukku sanniya
The Amukku sanni yaka was said to be responsible for vomiting and stomach diseases such as diarrhea. The mask’s face was green with an expression of disgust, depicting nausea.

Ginijala sanniya
This entity was said to be responsible for high fever and chills of the body. Malaria is one such disease which has both these symptoms, and it was believed that performing this sort of tovil would result in a cure. The face on the mask is painted red to depict a high fever.

Naga sanniya
Nightmares featuring fearsome serpents was believed to be the work of the vicious naga sanni yaka, and the mask contains the carving of a serpent on one side of it.

Kapala sanniya/Pissu sanniya
The pissu sanni yaka or kapala sanni yaka was said to be responsible for temporary insanity, which could be alleviated by performing this sanniya. The mask depicting this sanni yaka is green with a slightly manic expression in the eyes.

Selesma sanniya
Migraines and other related ailments, as well as epilepsy, were believed to have been caused by the selesma sanniya.

Kora sanniya
This demon is said to have been responsible for paralytic conditions and diseases that cause numbness in the face, hands and feet. The face on this mask depicts lifeless facial muscles, like that of someone who suffered a stroke.

Butha sanniya
The mask of this sanniya represented a demon who was also supposedly responsible for temporary madness that was related to the influence of evil spirits.

Kana sanniya
The ancients believed that this demon was responsible for temporary blindness which is why the mask of this sanni yaka is usually a face carved with one eye.

Bihiri sanniya
This sanniya was associated with temporary deafness. The one side of its mask was carved with a serpent, because the ancients regarded the serpent as a deaf creature.

Golu sanniya
This demon was said to have been the cause of dumbness and speaking disabilities. Usually the mask of this sanniya was a face with an open mouth and no tongue and/or teeth.

Gedi sanniya
Skin diseases that caused cysts, wounds and boils were believed to have been the work of the gedi sanni yaka, and the mask of this sanniya was a face full of boils and tumours.

Jala sanniya
They also believed that severe conditions of diarrhea—which is a symptom of diseases like cholera—were caused by the jala sanni yaka. The mask of thissanniya is red.

Gulma sanniya
Diseases and illnesses that are caused by parasitic worms like the hookworm and tapeworm were believed to have been the work of the gulma sanni yaka.The mask of his sanniya is painted pale yellow, depicting the skin colour of patients suffering from anaemia as a result of worm diseases.

Abutha sanniya
This sanniya represented temporary madness in people believed to have not been caused by dark spirits.

Maru sanniya
The maru sanni yaka was said to responsible for death.

Maha Kola sanniya
The mask of the Maha Kola sanniya

In local folklore, this is the chief of the eighteen chaotic demons who are responsible for all the physical ailments and diseases mentioned above. According to the legend, this demon is more fearsome than the eighteen minor demons he rules over.

The folklore speaks of a pregnant queen who lived during the time of Lord Buddha, who was suspected by her husband of committing adultery and was executed. During her execution she gave birth to a son, who fed on her corpse and became the demon Maha Kola. The legends go on to say that it was he who created the eighteen demons of illness to help him take revenge on his father.

The mask of the Maha Kola sanniya is a two foot high mask which features a demonic face with wings on either side—each one displays nine smaller demonic faces that are the masks of the daha ata sanniya.

According to the belief surrounding these rituals, the demons are brought under control with the offerings and the performance and banished back to the demonic world. Though it unclear when the rituals began, they have been practised in the southern and western provinces, areas part of the ancient Ruhunu kingdom.

Even today, there are a handful of people who practise these rituals in these areas, as part of the Ruhunu tradition of classical dance in the country. These rituals, however, now tend to be practised as cultural performances rather than ritual healings and exorcisms.

*Research by Amanda Abeysooriya