RANDIMA Senarathne has two daughters under the age of six.
She was up until 4am today putting the finishing touches on the outfits her girls proudly sported to celebrate Sri Lankan New Year.
Their pink and white floral lama saree ensembles resembled the traditional attire Mrs Senarathne remembered wearing, growing up on the island nation, at this time of year.
"I'm not a good dressmaker but I wanted them to know what it looks like," she said.
"I love my culture and tradition."
The celebrations the Sri Lankan Fellowship in Bendigo is staging today differ somewhat from what would be occurring almost 7000 kilometres away.
But the essentials are there. Families gathered at St Therese's Primary School in Kennington to share food and to celebrate with traditional games.
In pride of place in the centre of the room was a table laden with dishes families in Sri Lanka would also be enjoying.
Trays of neatly cubed coconut milk rice were among them.
A whiteboard was already set up for one of the games the families would enjoy - draw the eye on the elephant.
"I'm really glad they can at least get to know what it looks like," Mrs Senarathne said, watching as her girls enjoyed the company of the other children.
Bendigo has been their home for six months, having made the move up from Melbourne.
Mrs Senarathne was grateful for the opportunity to celebrate such a meaningful occasion with family and friends.
Dr Himani Abeyratne and her now adult children, Sinali and Uvin Seneviratne, have seen the Sri Lankan community in Bendigo grow.
For nine years, they have been attending the Sri Lankan Fellowship in Bendigo's New Year festivities.
"They were little when they first started coming and now they're at university," Dr Abeyratne said.
Sinali and Uvin could remember when they were among the children singing the Sri Lankan and Australian national anthems at the opening of the celebrations.
"There are so many more people now," Sinali said.
Up to 80 families are attached to the Sri Lankan Fellowship in Bendigo
Sri Lankan New Year festivities mark the start of a new cycle through the 12 signs of the zodiac.
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