Two girls stand outside their linehouses during Vesak Poya celebrations in Hanthana, Sri Lanka, 2019.
They’re about to celebrate Vesak Poya. In Sinhala language "Poya" is the name given to the full moon day by buddhists and "Vesak Poya" is especially important because it commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.
As a consequence of the terrorist attacks in April that left the country immersed in deep sadness and economic disadvantage, the celebrations were different: over curfew, in a very limited and silent way. Normally they prepare colorful paper lanterns by hand and hang them inside and outside their houses, cook for offerings while gathering joyfully on the streets.
These ceylonese lion masks the girls wear are nothing typical of this three day celebration. They represent an extinct prehistoric subespecie of lion, excavated in the country. It is believed to become extinct 37000 years BC.