The culture of Sri Lanka has been influenced by many factors, but has managed to retain many of its ancient aspects. Sri Lankan culture has been influenced by its long history and its Buddhist heritage.South Indian influences are visible in many aspects. There is also some influence from colonization by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. The country has a rich artistic tradition, embracing the fine arts, including music, dance, and visual arts. The Sri Lankan lifestyle is reflected in the country’s cuisine, festivals, and sports. Sri Lankan culture is best known abroad for its cricket, food, holistic medicine, religious icons like the Buddhist flag, and cultural exports such as tea, cinnamon and gemsas well as tourism. Sri Lankan culture is diverse, as it varies from region to region. Sri Lanka has had ties with the Indian subcontinent since ancient times. Demographics: Sinhalese 74.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 9.23%, Indian Tamil 4.16%, Sri Lankan Tamil 11.21%, Other 0.6%.
Sri Lanka boasts of a documented history of over 2000 years, mainly due to ancient historic scriptures like Mahawamsa, and with the first stone objects dating back to 500,000 BC. Several centuries of intermittent foreign influence have transformed Sri Lankan culture to its present form. Nevertheless, the ancient traditions and festivals are still celebrated by the mostly conservative Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamil people of the island, together with other minorities that make up the Sri Lankan identity.
The architecture of Sri Lanka displays a rich variety of architectural forms and styles. Buddhism had a significant influence on Sri Lankan architecture, since it was introduced to the island in 3rd Century. However techniques and styles developed in Europe and Asia have also played a major role in the architecture of Sri Lanka.
Many forms of Sri Lankan arts and crafts take inspiration from the Island’s long and lasting Buddhist culture which in turn has absorbed and adopted countless regional and local traditions. In most instances Sri Lankan art originates from religious beliefs, and is represented in many forms such as painting, sculpture, and architecture. One of the most notable aspects of Sri Lankan art are caves and temple paintings, such as the frescoes found at Sigiriya, and religious paintings found in temples in Dambulla and Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. Other popular forms of art have been influenced by both natives as well as outside settlers. For example, traditional wooden handicrafts and clay pottery are found around the hill country while Portuguese-inspired lacework and Indonesian-inspired Batik have become notable. Its has many different and beautiful drawings.
People in Sri Lanka love the performing arts. The main style of performance is Bollywood.
Sri Lanka is famous around the Indian ocean for Kandyan dancing.
The two single biggest influences Sri Lankan music are from Buddhism and Portuguese colonizers. Buddhism arrived in Sri Lanka after the Buddha’s visit in 300 BC, while the Portuguese arrived in the 15th century, bringing with them cantiga ballads, the ukulele, and guitars, along with African slaves, who further diversified the musical roots of the island. These slaves were called kaffrinha, and their dance music was called baila. Traditional Sri Lankan music includes the hypnotic Kandyan drums – drumming was and is very much a part of music in both Buddhist and Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. Most western parts of Sri Lanka follow western dancing and music.
The movie Kadawunu Poronduwa (The broken promise), produced by S. M. Nayagam of Chitra Kala Movietone, heralded the coming of Sri Lankan cinema in 1947. Ranmuthu Duwa (Island of treasures, 1962) marked the transition cinema from black-and-white to color. In recent years, Sri Lankan cinema has featured subjects such as family melodrama, social transformation, and the years of conflict between the military and the LTTE. Their cinematic style is similar to Bollywood movies. In 1979, movie attendance rose to an all-time high, but a gradual downfall has been recorded since then. Undoubtedly, the most influential and revolutionary filmmaker in the history of Sri Lankan cinema is Lester James Peiris, who has directed a number of movies which led to global acclaim, including Rekava (Line of destiny, 1956), Gamperaliya (The changing village, 1964), Nidhanaya (The treasure, 1970), and Golu Hadawatha (Cold Heart, 1968).There are many cinemas around Sri Lanka in city areas.