HeLA Culture


Who is a Hela?

Anyone who identifies and participates in Hela Culture is a Hela. If you speak Helabasa, demonstrate the Hela values (of humanity, wisdom and self-sufficiency) and participate respectfully in Hela traditions, you are a Hela.

The terms 'Sinhela', 'Sinhala' and 'Sinhalese' are synonyms for the Hela (the indigenous people of the Island of 'Sri Lanka'). These synonyms are historical corruptions of our original indigenous identity. The word 'Sinhela' was derived from two words 'Sinha' (meaning Lion, which was the clan name of the founder of the last royal dynasty on the Island) and 'Hela' (our indigenous identity). Remaining true to our identity, we describe ourselves as Hela and our unique culture as Hela Culture.

What is our Hela Culture?

  • Our unique language - Helabasa

  • Our shared values of humanity, wisdom and self-sufficiency

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

  • Our sacred theravadha tradition of the Buddha-Dhamma

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

Who we are...

We are a warm and friendly people. With hands together we welcome you: wishing you blessings of good health, long life and happiness (Ayu-bo-wan!). Our Hela community is uniquely and steadfastly family oriented. To us, everyone is a brother, sister, son, daughter, uncle or aunt. Our lives are centered around our children. We value learning and wisdom, and we greatly invest in our children's education. We believe education is the key to sovereignty and prosperity. We also believe in equity. We look out for each other and help those in need. We are a great sporting people. Our passion for cricket in the blue and gold is world renowned. We are indeed a peaceful people. We believe in the sanctity of all Life.

Our Hela Family

Today the Hela family is bigger than ever. Over 17 million Hela speak Helabasa (Sinhala) as their mother tongue. Our Hela family also includes Hela Tamils, Hela Muslims, Hela Burghers etc. (numbering close to 5 million) who also speak Helabasa. In addition to Heladivians, it is estimated, over 5 million people speak Helabasa in other countries. These our Hela expatriates periodically return to Heladiva to share the spirit of the vibrant Hela culture and be enriched by it.