From Kawm to Kokis: How much do you know about these Avurudu Showstoppers

From Kawm to Kokis: How much do you know about these Avurudu Showstoppers

Chanuli Fernando

From Kawm to Kokis: How much do you know about these Avurudu Showstoppers

May 17, 2024

From the sweet chewy texture of warm Konda Kevum to the laughter echoing off colliding pillows from Kotta Poru, the Sinhala and Tamil new Year has distinctive meals and games cherished by young and old alike. Whether you were that bubbling kid eager to jump right into festivities or the older sibling helping preparations or even that (*coughs*) neighbor waiting to get your hands on those sweetmeats, these unique Avurudu ‘kavili’ and games are bound to have left an impact on you. In this article, we take a trip down memory lane, exploring some key Avurudu treats and games and if that still doesn’t get you excited, we have a twist: we’re asking Claude, anthropic’s AI assistant, if it can recognize these showstoppers based on pictures alone.  So gear up, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Avurudu Kavili 

The avurudu table boasts a range of traditional sweetmeats and food that is shared with family, friends and neighbors. These include (but are not limited to!) kiribath, konda kevum, mung-kevum, kokis, aasmi, athirasa, dodol, pani walalu, and weli thalapa. Below, we touch on just four of these, and put Claude to the test along the way.

 

Kiribath

The first avurudu food that we decided to ask from Claude was Kiribath, a meal prepared by Sri Lankans for every major occasion in the household. Kiribath which is also known as Paal Soru, is white rice cooked in coconut milk. Kiribath is served with “lunu miris.”

Did Claude guess it right?

Claude did! The AI guessed it right, linking the picture to Kiri bath as a desert that is enjoyed during Sinhala and Tamil New Year Celebrations. Claude was even able to provide us with information about Kiri Pol Pani as a steamed rice flour, and coconut milk cake or dumpling which has a filling of grated coconut and jaggery.

Kokis

The most devoured delicacy by everybody during avurudu is Kokis. Kokis is made by first coating a flower shaped mold in a thick batter of rice flour, coconut milk and eggs. Then it is dipped in boiling coconut oil and served savoury or sweet.

Did Claude guess it right?

Unfortunately not. According to Claude, the picture depicting kokis was recognized as a Chinese or Portuguese egg tart known as pastéis de nata which is a custard-filled tart with a strictive crispy pastry shell browned slightly with a caramelized custard top. However, kokis is linguistically derived from the word “koekjes” which is Dutch for cookies. When we dived into the origin of Kokis, Claude seemed to be correct.

Fun Fact: Kokis was introduced to Sri Lanka by the Dutch when they ruled the Kandyan period.

Bibikkan

Bibikkan also known as the Sri Lankan coconut cake, is a dark, moist cake, made of shredded coconut, jaggery and semolina along with a mixture of spices. The origin of Bibikkan is unknown but it is assumed to have begun in the era when the Portuguese captured the coastal areas.

Did Claude guess it right?

Claude revealed Bibikkan as a traditional dried pastry snack originated from India. Although the origin of Bibikkan was guessed close to home, Bibikkan is a baked good not a fried pastry. Claude’s attempt to guess this sweet delicacy failed.

Avurudu Games

The Avurudu games played during avurudu are not your typical games you play at other events. They range from beating up your opponent on a log to something simple as being the winner for collecting the most number of olinda beads in a board game. Let’s see how Claude tries to identify these games individually.

Kotta Pora 

The first new year sport we decided to ask from Claude was Kotta Pora. Kotta Pora is a pillow fighting game in which two opponents sit on top of a pole which is balanced off the ground. Both players should keep one hand behind their back, and they should knock the opponent off the pole with the help of a pillow held in the other hand.

Did Claude guess it right?

Well, sort of. Claude linked the picture to game called Angampora which is a traditional Sri Lankan military training exercises. Angampora is one of the national sports of Sri Lanka, which dates back centuries.

Kana Mutti Bidima 

Kana Mutti is a game in which the players attempt to break a pot filled with water that is suspended off the ground with a stick in their hand while they are blindfolded.

Did Claude guess it right?

Claude was not able to guess the image accurately. Instead, Claude recognized the game as a colourful traditional Southeast Asian cultural dance or performance show most likely seen in places like Bali, Thailand or the Indonesian Islands.

Olinda Keliya

Olinda Keliya’ is a board game also known as Mancala games which uses a wooden board known as “Olinda Poruwa” with several holes. The rules can differ from area to area, but the game is normally played by two players seated on either side of the board. On either side of the poruwa there are usually nine holes in which are placed four beads each. The beads are Olinda seeds that can be found in abundance in villages.

Did Claude guess it right?

Claude guessed the game right by its origin name Mancala which is a family of count-and-capture games that involve distributing seeds or stones into holes arranged in rows on the wooden board. Claude further mentioned that this was an ancient game of strategy and skill that originated from Africa.

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