Hela Culture

Hela Culture

Who is a Hela?

Anyone who speaks Helabasa (i.e. the indigenous language of Heladiva), respects Hela values (i.e. humanity, self-sufficiency & wisdom) and Hela traditions is a Hela. 

Simply: Anyone who identifies and participates in Hela Culture.


Who is a Sinhela? 'Sinhela', 'Sinhala' or 'Sinhalese' are synonyms for the indigenous Hela. These synonyms are a historical corruption of our indigenous identity. Remaining true to our indigenous identity we use Hela to describe ourselves and our culture.

The word 'Sinhela' was derived from two words 'Sinha' (meaning Lion, the clan name of the founder of the last royal dynasty on the Island) and 'Hela' (the name of the indigenous people of Heladiva).


What is our Hela Culture?

  • Our unique language - Helabasa (Sinhela)

  • Our shared values - Humanity, Self-sufficiency and Wisdom

  • Our unique traditions in: cuisine, medicine, music, songs, art, craft, sport, literature and theravadha buddhism

  • Our celebration of a rich history; both oral and written.


Who we are...

We the Hela are warm and friendly people. In clasped hands, we warmly welcome people; wishing them health, long life and happiness (AYUBOWAN!).

Our lives are centred around our children. We value learning and we invest greatly in our children's education. We believe education is the means to individual and universal wellbeing.

Our Hela community is very much family oriented. To us, everyone is a brother, sister, son, daughter aunt or uncle. We believe in equity. We also look out for each other. Whenever we can, we seek to help those in need.

We are a great sporting people. Our passion for cricket is world renowned. Almost every child in Heladiva dreams of one day wearing the blue and gold.

We are a peaceful people. We believe in the sanctity of Life. The only few occasions we have been at war is when our sovereignty was threatened. Sovereignty is paramount to us.


Our Hela Family

Today the Hela family is bigger than ever. Over 16 million people in Heladiva speak Helabasa as their first language (This includes those who identify themselves as Hela Sinhala or 'Sinhalese'). Our Hela family also includes Hela Tamils, Hela Muslims, Hela Burghers etc. (numbering close to 5 million) who also speak Helabasa.

Throughout the world it is estimated there are over 4 million people who speak Helabasa. These Hela expatriates often return to Heladiva to share the spirit of our vibrant Hela Culture.


(Video Link)

Photo: Ekanayake, S., www.infolanka.com

Photo: Ekanayake, S., www.infolanka.com

Photo: Unknown, www.infolanka.com

Photo: Ekanayake, S., www.infolanka.com

Photo: Unknown, www.lankanewspapers.com

Photo: Ekanayake, S., www.infolanka.com

Photo: Ekanayake, S., www.infolanka.com

Photo: Ekanayake, S., www.infolanka.com

Subpages (1): Celebrations