© 2023 Dr. M. Sheppard

Pattini Ceremonies Myths Shrines Community Pattini Community Pattini 2 Family Pattini

Another tradition (cited by Wirz) regarding  Pattini, is that from about the 1100s AD it was the custom for the Sri Lankan Buddhist kings to marry Tamil Hindu wives from  India. These wives would continue to follow Hinduism and have Hindu shrines  constructed within the Buddhist Temples. This is still the case today although there are special temples dedicated to Pattini there are shrines and sanctuaries dedicated to this goddess and the other deities within many Buddhist Temples.

These Pattini Ceremonies are held as a “thank you” to Pattini for the release of an individual or community from an affliction. During the ceremony the Deities are entertained by the dances and songs describing the legends associated with them. Offerings are made thanking them for their help in releasing the individual or community from their affliction.When the patient or community was suffering they would have made a pledge to hold the Pattini Ceremony if the Deity promoted their recovery.  Should the individual or the community fail to fulfil this pledge, then  Pattini and the other Deities will inflict the punishment again through the agencies of their various associated demons.

These ceremonies may be held annually.

Yala East near Potuvil in SE Sri Lanka. Deep in the Jungle next to the river is this shrine to Pattini. On the right are the candle sticks that had held the candles and clay oil lamps of supplicants who had used them to light their way when they waded across the river in the dark to visit the shrine. They leave these under this Jungle tree. This shrine is on the ancient Pilgrimage route from the Hindu Temples in the North ending at Kataragama Temple in the South. The faithful still walk the whole way sleeping en route at the seaside Temples located all down the East coast of Sri Lanka. This pilgrimage journey can take several weeks and traditionally culminated at the great Esala (July) Kataragama Temple Perahera in the South.

Inside the Pattini Shrine - images of the Deity Pattini.

Pattini Shrines

During a  visit in 2011 to the newly re-opened  Yala East  National Park (it had been closed during the civil war) we came across one of these Pattini shrines deep in the Jungle.