The Sinhala and Tamil New Year is one of the most significant holidays on the Sri Lankan calendar. Usually celebrated on the 13th or 14th of April, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year marks the beginning of the traditional calendar according to astrology and is a national festival of the country. The date is a public holiday and is celebrated in a number of ways – with several festivities and customs observed during the period. Auspicious times are an important aspect of celebrations and form the core of most new year customs. During the holiday, it is customary for families to gather and visit other relatives. Traditional sweetmeats – such as kavum, kokis, aasmi and aluwa – are also prepared and exchanged. Loud firecrackers and the sound of raban (traditional Sri Lankan drums) can be heard on the streets as part of celebrations as well, filling the air with an uplifting Avurudu spirit.