Sinhalese New Year, generally known as Aluth Avurudda (Sinhala: අලුත් අවුරුද්ද) in Sri Lanka, is the new year of the Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka. It is a major anniversary celebrated by not only the Sinhalese people but by most Sri Lankans. The timing of the Sinhala New Year coincides with the new year celebrations of many traditional calendars of South and Southeast Asia. The festival has close semblance to the Tamil New year, Thai New year, Bengali New Year, Cambodian New Year, Lao New Year, Thingyan in Myanmar and Oriya New Year festival in India. It is a public holiday in Sri Lanka. It is generally celebrated on 13 or 14 April.
According to Sinhalese astrology, New Year begins when the sun moves from Meena Rashiya (the house of Pisces) to Mesha Rashiya (the house of Aries). It also marks the end of the harvest and spring.
New Year is the time at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count is incremented. In many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner. The New Year of the Gregorian calendar, today in worldwide use, falls on 1 January (New Year's Day), as was the case with the Roman calendar. There are numerous calendars that remain in regional use that calculate the New Year differently.
The order of months in the Roman calendar was January to December since the reign of King Numa Pompilius in about 700 BC, according to Plutarch and Macrobius. It was only relatively recently that 1 January again became the first day of the year in Western culture. Until 1751 in England and Wales (and all British dominions) the new year started on 25 March – Lady Day, one of the four quarter days (the change to 1 January took place in 1600 in Scotland). Since then, 1 January has been the first day of the year. During the Middle Ages several other days were variously taken as the beginning of the calendar year (1 March, 25 March, Easter, 1 September, 25 December). In many countries, such as the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and the UK, 1 January is a national holiday.
For information about the changeover from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and the effect on the dating of historical events etc., see Old Style and New Style dates.