New Year celebration at the office

It was a fun start to the week this morning where a few of my colleagues decided to throw a New Year breakfast for everyone.  As usual, the homemade food was delish and we ate like kings.  But before we tucked into the feast, there were a few customs to get through first.

A new earthen pot is bought and filled with milk.  A fire is built and for the coming year to be a good one, the milk must boil over, showing an abundance for the coming year.

With Gayathri’s magic touch, a fine fire got going and the milk boiled over!

It will be a prosperous year ahead for us all because the milk did indeed boil over.  It took a woman’s touch to get the fire really going.

The kolam designed with coloured rice. The green signifies the paddy (rice) and no one could remember what the purple stood for.

Once back inside it was time to light the oil lamp on the beautifully designed kolam, delicately prepared by Gayathri.

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Michael, Prakash, Tharshini, Debi and I got the privilege of lighting one of the six wicks and we got a round of applause for our talents.

Then it was time to feast!

Kiribath (milk rice) served with fish ambulthiya and many sambols:  seemi, red chilli and coconut.

These savoury dishes were followed by an array of homemade sweetmeats:

From centre left clockwise: butter cake, chocolate brownies, kokis, konda kavum, min kavum and asmi.  I forget the name of the bowl of sweet things in the middle, but they were very sweet, crunchy and of course deep fried.

  • kokis (rounded star shaped biscuits)
  • konda kavum (muffin-like oil cake)
  • min kavum (folded leaf shaped mung bean dough filled with jaggery)
  • asmi (deep-dried rice strings drizzled in treacle),
  • My contribution was chocolate & cashew brownies and Savanthi also made a butter cake.

It sure was a feast!

New Year’s Breakfast was delicious with lots of leftovers for lunch later today, and probably lunch again tomorrow.


About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In the past two years, my work in Nepal has expanded to the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation and the Spinal Cord Injured Network Nepal. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in the north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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2 Responses to New Year celebration at the office

  1. Becky Dawson says:

    Kate – I am so very happy for you with your friends and colleagues in Sri Lanka. I feel very grounded and smile when reading about your celebration..thank you and bon appetit in Sri Lanka 🙂
    Becky xo

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