- Customary greetings vary between the different ethnic groups.
- The traditional and common greeting is to press the palms of one’s hands together under the chin and in front of the chest while slightly bowing the head.
- The traditional greeting is often accompanied with the phrase ‘vannakkam’ (in Tamil) or ‘ayubowan’ (in Sinhalese), which means "may you be blessed with a long life". An alternative phrase in Hindi is ‘namaste’, which literally translates as “I bow to you.”
- In more informal settings, it is common for people to greet with the phrase ‘kohomada’, which means “how do you do?”.
- Most Sri Lankans are familiar with the handshake. However, consider that some Sri Lankans are not accustomed to touching people of the opposite gender. A man should wait for the woman to extend her hand first before attempting to shake it. Women may choose to bow with their hands folded instead.
- Titles are quite important to Sri Lankans and proper greeting practices call for acquaintances to be addressed by their title, such as ‘Mr’, ‘Ms’ or ‘Doctor’.
- The eldest person present is expected to be greeted first. When doing so, some Sri Lankans may reach down and touch the ground or the elder’s feet as a sign of respect. This is known as ‘worshipping elders’. Buddhist Sri Lankans may also do this greeting when encountering a monk.
- Greetings that involve hugging and kissing should be avoided unless you are well acquainted with the person.
Sri Lankan Culture
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Population22.235 million[July 2016 est.]
LanguagesSinhala (official) (74%)Tamil (official) (18%)Other (8%)Note: English, spoken competently by about 10% of the population, is commonly used in government and is referred to as the link language in the constitution.[2012 census]
ReligionsBuddhism (70.2%)Hinduism (12.6%)Islam (9.7%)Catholic Christianity (6.1%)Other (1.8%)[2012 census]
EthnicitiesSinhalese (74.9%)Sri Lankan Tamil (11.2%)Sri Lankan Moors (9.2%)Indian Tamil (4.2%)Other (0.5%)[2012 census]
Power Distance 80 Individualism 35 Masculinity 10 Uncertainty Avoidance 45 Long Term Orientation 45 Indugence - What's this?
Australians with Sri Lankan Ancestry138,268Including Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamil and Sri Lankan (ndf)[2016 census]
Sri Lankans in Australia
Population109,849[2016 census]This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Sri Lanka.
GenderMale (51.1%)Female (48.9%)
ReligionBuddhism (38.1%)Catholic Christianity (23.4%)Hinduism (17.8%)Anglican Christianity (5.7%)Other (2.7%)
AncestrySri Lankan (50.9%)Sinhalese (18.4%)Tamil (9%)English (4.3%)Other (17.4%)
Language Spoken at HomeSinhalese (47.4%)English (26.7%)Tamil (23%)Other (1.7%)Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 91.9% speak English fluently.
DiasporaVictoria (50.9%)New South Wales (27.4%)Queensland (8.9%)Western Australia (6.2%)
ArrivalPrior to 2001 (53.5%)2001-2006 (17.3.%)2007-2011 (25.8%)
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