Jaffna district, the northern region of the island of Sri Lanka. The peninsula is actually almost an island; only the narrow causeway known as Elephant Pass for once Elephants did wade across the shallow lagoon here connects Jaffna with rest of Sri Lanka.
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Jaffna is known in Tamil as Yalpanam. A King was visited by the blind Panan musician, who was an expert in vocal music and one skilled in the use of instrument called Yal. The King who was delighted to the music played with the Yal by the Panan, presented him a sandy plain. The Panan returned to India and introduced some members of his tribe as impecunious as himself to accompany to this land of promise, and it is surmised that their place of settlement was that part of the city which is known at present as Pasaiyur and Karaiyur.
Jaffna is a corrupted version of Yalpanam. The colloquial form of Yalpanam is Yappanam. The Ya and Ja including pp and ff are easily interchangeable. As soon as it went into foreign language, it lost the Tamil ending m and consequently stood as Jaffna.
The majority of the city’s population are Sri Lankan Tamils, although there was a significant number of Sri Lankan Moors, Indian Tamils and other ethnic groups present in the city prior to the civil war. Most Sri Lankan Tamils are Hindus followed by Christians, Muslims and a small Buddhist minority. The city is home to number of educational institutions established during the colonial and post-colonial period. It also has number of commercial institutions, minor industrial units, banks, hotels and other government institutions such as the hospital. It is home to the popular Jaffna library that was burnt down and rebuilt. The city is anchored by the Jaffna fort rebuilt during the Dutch colonial period.
Jaffna has the highest average temperature in Sri Lanka of 83 °F (28 °C). The temperature is highest in the months of April – May and August – September. The temperature is coolest in December – January. The annual rainfall is brought in by the North East monsoon and it varies from one place to the other and also from year to year. The average rainfall is 50 inches in the western part of Jaffna peninsula.
The traditional way of greetings by saying “Vanakkam” with the hands clasped at chest height and bowed slightly as if in prayer position.
Women in rural areas do not normally shake hands with men as this form of contact is not traditionally acceptable between acquaintances.
Use your right hand for giving, taking or shaking hands as the left hand is considered to be unclean.
When handing objects to another person, using right hand or both hands would be appreciated by the receiver.
During your visit to hindu temple in Jaffna, dress appropriately. Remove shoes and hat before you entering. Men should also remove their shirt. Normally photography inside of the temple is prohibited.
Remove your shoes when invited at home by a host. It is mark of respect to locals.
Modest dress for women is always advisable: Loose fitting, non-see-through clothes, Covering the shoulders, and skirts, dresses or shorts (at least knee-length).
Smoking is prohibited in public places.
Normally the people have their meals using their right hand. As a respect to the guest, plantain leaf is used as a plate to have meals. However the tourists are allowed to use fork and spoon.
In terms of food taste the “Jaffna Odial Kool” “Jaffna Crab Curry” and “Karuththakolumb
an Mango”. These are unique to the north part of Sri Lanka.
The youngers as a mark a respect when they see the elderly people will get up and take seat only after they take the seat.
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