LANGUAGE
   
CULTURE

The culture of Sri Lanka has been influenced by many factors but has managed to retain much of its ancient aspects. Mostly it has been influenced by its long history and its diversity of religious beliefs. The country has a rich artistic tradition, embracing the fine arts, including music, dance, and visual arts. Sri Lankan lifestyle is reflected in the cuisine, festivals, and sports. South Indian influences are visible in many aspects. There is also some influences from colonization by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. Sri Lankan culture is best known abroad for its cricket, food, holistic medicine, religious icons like the Buddhist flag, and cultural exports such as tea. Sri Lankan culture is diverse, as it varies from region to region.

The culture of Sri Lanka dates back over 2500 years. It is influenced primarily by Buddhism and Hinduism. According to Islamic folklore, Adam and Eve were offered refuge on the island as solace for their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The island is the home to two main traditional cultures: the Sinhalese (centred in the ancient cities of Kandy and Anuradhapura) and the Tamil (centred in the city of Jaffna). In more recent times, the British colonial culture has also influenced the locals. 

The first Tamil immigration was probably around the 3rd century BC. Tamils co-existed with the Sinhalese people since then, and the early mixing rendered the two ethnic groups almost physically indistinct. Ancient Sri Lanka is marked for its genius in hydraulic engineering and architecture. The rich cultural traditions shared by all Sri Lankan cultures is the basis of the country's long life expectancy, advanced health standards and high literacy rate.

Food and festivals

The cuisine of Sri Lanka draws influence from that of India, especially from Kerala, as well as colonists and foreign traders. Rice, which is usually consumed daily, can be found at any special occasion, while spicy curries are favourite dishes for lunch and dinner. A very popular alcoholic drink is toddy or arrack, both made from palm tree sap. Rice and curry refers to a range of Sri Lankan dishes. Sri Lankans also eat hoppers (Aappa, Aappam), which can be found anywhere in Sri Lanka.

Much of Sri Lanka's cuisine consists of boiled or steamed rice served with spicy curry.