SAARC Puppetry Day – Sri Lanka


The SAARC Puppetry Day was introduced this year to highlight fast disappearing traditional entertainment of puppetry.  The pandemic had rather adverse effect on this traditional entertainment due to travel restrictions and many of the traditional puppetry craftspeople had to leave their trade and look for new avenues of economic support thereby having a detrimental effect on the already disappearing craft.  The puppetry tradition in Sri Lanka uses handmade puppets using traditional techniques and methods passed down from generation to generation.  This is an attempt by the SAARC Cultural Centre to ensure the intangible heritage of the puppetry traditions of Sri Lanka, both the art of making them and the tradition of using folk stories, Buddhist stories and others to entertain their audiences are brought alive and enjoyed by the SAARC Region. 

Puppetry Day Programme

The Puppetry Day will consist of 2 shows:

  • The main event will be the evening show at 7:00 pm under darkness for a larger international and public audience. 
  • There will be a special school show organized at 3:00 pm for local school audiences on the same day.  

The Puppeteers use puppets to share folk tales and traditional historical stories of Sri Lanka, etc., passing on the intangible cultural heritage of puppet making, folk lore, historical stories, etc., to the next generation.  Some of the stories and events used for the Puppet show are as follows: 

  • The Story of Saliya & Asokamala (This is a Sri Lankan story about the heir to the throne falling in love with a girl from the gypsy clan and leaving his royal family to be with his beloved.  There are many traditional verses and songs about this Sri Lankan love story.)
  • Vidura Jataka Story – (A story which reveals the wisdom of Bodhisattva.) 
  • Sirisangabo Story (This is the story of a Sri Lankan King Sirisangabo who gave away his throne to his brother and became a hermit and sacrificed himself to give his head to a poor traveller to get his reward.)
  • Pooja Dance (The dance of blessings which is commonly used in rituals in Sri Lanka.)
  • Bahubootha Kolama (Comic relief with Jesters)
  • Pandam Paliya (Fire Dance)
  • Cart Accident

This is a FREE Public Event and all are welcome.