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Sinhalese in Sri Lanka

Sinhalese

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Sinhalese in Sri Lanka map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
10,729,000 Sinhala Buddhism 3.99 % Unknown   

Sinhalese in Sri Lanka

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Introduction / History
The Sinhalese are the dominant ethnic group in Sri Lanka (formerly, Ceylon), an island off the southeastern coast of India. Composing about three-fourths of the population, they live mainly in the central and southwestern portions of the island. The Sinhalese have lived in Sri Lanka for more than 2,000 years. They were ruled by various European powers for over 400 years until Sri Lanka was granted independence from Great Britain in 1948. Since that time, they have been engaged in nearly constant conflict with the Tamil minority, who have called for an independent state on the north side of the island.

The Sinhalese are divided into two major groups. The first group is the mountain-dwelling Kandyan Sinhalese, who are known as a more traditional, conservative people. The second is the Low Country Sinhalese, who live in the coastal lowlands and are more cosmopolitan and progressive. The Sinhalese speak an Indo-European language called Sinhala.

What are their lives like?
The Sinhalese follow the Buddhist religion, but because of Sri Lanka's proximity to India, the people are also heavily influenced by the Hindu caste system. Castes are ranked social classes that are based upon birth and occupation. For example, farmers have their own caste, fishermen have another caste, and priests have yet another caste. At birth, individuals are automatically included in their parents' caste and are required to marry within that caste. Members of a highly ranked caste generally attempt to avoid contact with members of lower castes, for fear of being spiritually polluted by them.

The largest caste among the Sinhalese is the farming caste, whose members number about one-half of the total Sinhalese population. The great majority of the farmers grow rice. Coconut, manioc, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions are also cultivated. In addition, marijuana is sometimes grown as a cash crop. Virtually no modern tools are used in agriculture; consequently, almost all farm work is done by hand or with hand tools. Most farming families also keep animals such as cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs.

Almost all Sinhalese marriages are monogamous, composed of one man and one woman. However, a wealthy man may occasionally have more than one wife. Traditionally, there was no ceremony associated with marriage; a man and a woman simply started living together with their parents' consent. Today, however, that type of marriage is rare, and most couples hold a ceremony and sign a marriage license.

What are their beliefs?
Most of the Sinhalese belong to the Theravada branch of the Buddhist religion. Although the Sinhalese adhere to basic Buddhist teachings, they follow many Hindu beliefs as well. For example, Buddhism is unconcerned with the Hindu pantheon of millions of gods, but the Sinhalese worship Hindu deities who they believe control daily life. Over time, the people may come to see a formerly popular god as inadequate, and they may change their allegiance to another god. In addition to gods, the Sinhalese believe in demons, whom they must appease through rituals conducted by exorcists.

What are their needs?
Literacy in Sri Lanka is high, and most people have adequate food, shelter, and health care. However, Sri Lanka remains one of the poorest of the South Asian nations as a result of the low industrial growth rate. In addition, the nation has been torn apart in recent years by civil war between the Sinhalese and the Tamil minority who seek independence.

Even more overwhelming than the physical needs of the Sinhalese are their spiritual needs. Although a few Sinhalese converted to Christianity during the colonial period, most of them still have no real understanding of the Gospel message. Fervent intercession, evangelistic materials, and increased missionary efforts are all greatly needed if the Sinhalese are to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points
* Pray for an end to the long-standing civil war in Sri Lanka.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send missionaries who can witness to the Sinhalese in culturally relevant ways.
* Ask the Lord to soften the hearts of the Sinhalese so they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that God will use the few Sinhalese believers to share the love of Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Sinhalese.

View Sinhalese in all countries.

Prayer Links  
PrayerGuard.net
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-08-05
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Country: Sri Lanka
Continent: Asia
Region: South Asia
Persecution Rank:45 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
   
 
Maps
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Country Map:Political map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
 
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Sinhalese
People Name General: Sinhalese
Alternate People Names:
CingaleseSingalese
SinghaleseSinhala
सिनलीज़
ROP3 Code: 109305
Joshua Project People ID: 14196
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 10,729,000
Population all Countries: 11,143,000
Least-Reached: Yes
   
 
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Sinhala
People Name General: Sinhalese
Ethnic Code: CNN25q
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
   
 
Language
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Primary Language: Sinhala (10,729,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): sin    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
   
 
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism96.01 % 
Christianity3.99 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-ReligiousUnknown 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
 
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
   
 
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 3   Less than 2% Evangelical. Widespread church planting within past 2 years
 
 
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1739-1966
New Testament:
1776-1991Audio
Complete Bible: 1823-1982
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
 
 
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoGod's Story Video
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Sinhala
Film / VideoMagdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGods Simple Plan
GeneralGot Questions Ministry
Text / Printed MatterWorld Missionary Press Booklets
 
 
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources
 
 

Sinhalese in Sri Lanka

Peoples
               
Geographic
Global                 Global
           
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
           
   
People Cluster
       
Region
   
    Sinhala     South Asia    
     
People-Group-Across-Countries
   
Country
   
      Sinhalese Sri Lanka    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Sinhalese in Sri Lanka          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Sinhala  
    Global    
Language
 
    All Religions                              
   
Religion
                             

Direct link:  http://legacy.unreachedresources.org/people-profile.php?peo3=14196&rog3=CE