A New Year surprise | Sunday Observer

A New Year surprise

3 April, 2022

On New Year’s Day Maginona kept herself busy in the small kitchen cooking kiribath (milk rice). Her husband – Andiris – was away from home in the paddy field. Her five-year-old son – Kiribanda – was fast asleep.

Kiribath and lunumiris

However, Maginona did not worry about them and placed the pot of kiribath on the hearth.

Then she ground some dried chillies and red onions to make lunumiris without which kiribath cannot be eaten.

After some time, she took the pot of milk rice from the hearth and spread the contents on a large banana leaf.

She flattened the milk rice with a piece of banana leaf and cut it into diamond-shaped pieces.


A gentle breeze wafted the smell of kiribath to the paddy field where Andiris was working. The smell of kiribath was so captivating that he immediately started running towards his house.

When Andiris reached home, Maginona had gone out to fetch water from a nearby stream. Andiris felt so hungry that he started eating a piece of kiribath with lunumiris.

He ate one more piece followed by another and another. Within a short time he left the empty banana leaf, drank a cup of water and vanished from the backdoor.

When he reached the hut in the paddy field he felt very sleepy. With a belly full of kiribath and a heart full of happiness he soon fell into a deep sleep.

Pandemonium broke loose when Maginona returned home.

She kept the pot of water in the kitchen and looked everywhere to see whether there was anyone in the vicinity.

She found her son still sleeping. Then she ran to the paddy field to meet her husband and tell him what had happened at home.

It took some time to wake up her sleeping husband. However, he denied having eaten the pot of kiribath.

Ruk Deviyo

Finding no solution to her problem, she ran to the big Nuga tree where a Ruk Deviyo (a tree deity) was living. While crying and sobbing she made a fervent appeal and waited for his response.

Suddenly, the Ruk Deviyo appeared among the branches and spoke to Maginona, “Don’t worry about your pot of kiribath.

Now, go home and you’ll find a table full of kiribath and other sweetmeats prepared for the New Year. There’s no need to find who ate the pot of kiribath because a hungry man would have eaten it.

Maginona worshipped the Ruk Deviyo and returned home to be greeted by her husband and son.

They enjoyed the fabulous New Year treat and lived happily ever after.