On 28 and 29 October 2023, the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Milan hosted the first ever ‘Sri Lankan Festival in Milan’ at Parco Sempione, Milan, under the patronage of the Municipal Council of Milan and in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau. The event was a celebration of Sri Lankan heritage and culture, in the heart of Milan.
The festival welcomed a large number of visitors, including tour operators, media, professionals and general public, both Italians as well as Sri Lankan expatriates.
At the core of the Sri Lankan Festival was the mission to bridge cultures, promote the country among wider Italian community and create a platform for what the country has to offer to the world. The festival shared the unique beauty and diversity of Sri Lanka with the visitors in a platter that offered an assortment of colors, sounds and flavors, offering a glimpse into the rich Sri Lankan culture and heritage.
The two-day festival’s highlights included cultural performances ranging from traditional dance to music; culinary delights featuring authentic Sri Lankan dishes; an art and photography exhibition, demonstration of traditional Ayurveda and wellness treatments, Ceylon Tea tasting, handicraft, batik and handloom craft section, display of Sri Lankan precious and semi-precious gem stones; saree parade and fashion show, an enchanting traditional manor house furnished with antique Sri Lankan furniture, Sri Lanka tourism pavilion, a photo booth, exhibition and sale of Sri Lankan products; question and answer sessions with giveaways; and video presentations reflecting diverse aspects of the country.
In addition, an Italian author and an illustrator who published the book ‘Il ponte de Adamo’ (The bridge of Adam) on Sri Lanka in Italian language, shared their fond experiences in Sri Lanka.
An exhibition consisting of paintings of an Italian illustrator and a renowned Sri Lankan artist and photographs of an award-winning Sri Lankan photographer residing in Italy created a tapestry of splendors of Sri Lanka.
Five Sri Lankan Restaurants based in Milan demonstrated live cooking of a variety of Sri Lankan savory street food and sweet delights while the Consulate General office in Milan organized a stall for Ceylon Tea tasting and sampling with the courtesy of different private brands. Ceylon Artisan Tea Association also availed of this event to promote their unique products. Sri Lankan origin children born in Italy were briefing the visitors on the difference between Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia and of other spices Sri Lanka produces at the kiosk designated for spices.
Municipal Councillor Luca Costamagna, President of the Cultural Commission of the Municipal Council of Milan attended as the Guest of Honour of this two-day festival, while a number of officials from the municipal council of Milan and the Diplomatic Corp in Milan attended the inaugural ceremony. Addressing the gathering, Councillor Costamagna stated that this was a great opportunity to discover the unique aspects of Sri Lankan culture and stated that he looks forward to work together towards further strengthening cultural cooperation between the two countries. Consul General of Sri Lanka in Milan Dilani Weerakoon emphasized that ‘Sri Lankans have proven over and over again we are a resilient nation. Sri Lanka is not a country grappled with challenges only, but a land of harmonious contrasts, a land that glows with its beauty within diversities, a land with so much potential.’
The Consulate General of Sri Lanka anticipates to host this event annually and make it an integral part of the cultural calendar of Milan.