This video is about a dansal at the May Vesak festival in Sri Lanka. The dansal – free food stall or more literally ‘generosity’ stall – has been a significant component of Buddhist festivities in Sri Lanka for centuries. Hundreds of years ago the kings gave food, drink and even their barbers to their people on festival days. In modern Sri Lanka, however, a dansal could be held by anyone and often neighbours or friends team up to collect money and organize the food preparation and distribution. During Buddhist festivals such as Vesak (May) and Poson (June) food stalls will line the street, with children often flagging down passers by and giving them a soft drink, some curry, and even chocolate ice cream. And you don’t have to be Buddhist to enjoy the free food or to get involved in the organization of a dansal. The video is part of a set of documentaries which look at the cosmology that emerges from the kitchens of Sri Lanka. The project was in part funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

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