In the village, rice comes first.

What we today designate as a 'village" is often a product of urban planning and has hardly anything indigenous about it. Important as these communities are in ushering, us into the 'modern age," it is equally important to realize that our traditional village has a worthiness that can never be evaluated in material terms.

Indeed, the spiritual principles that are operative in these traditional communities may be the only solution to a world fast being destroyed by materialism.

Puranagamas island-wide are linked by common cultural patterns based on food habits. Rice comes first. Just fifty years ago, Sri Lanka had more than 280 varieties of rice.

For example, heenati rice was grown for lactating mothers. Kanni murunga, another variety, was grown for men going out to work in the fields. Suvandel was cultivated for its extraordinary fragrance. Monks who did not eat after noon were given a special variety grown over six to eight months called mawee, which possesses a high-protein content. Today, there are 10 to 15 varieties commonly cultivated.

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