Glossary

Mahathaya

Mister or Sir

Origin:

Sinhalese

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Mahathero

Head monk of a Buddhist chapter

Origin:

Sinhalese

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Mahavamsa

The Mahavamsa or Great Chronicle is a historical poem written in the Pali language, of the Kings of Sri Lanka. The first version of it covered the period from the coming of King Vijaya of the Rarh region of ancient Bengal in 543 BCE to the reign of King Mahasena (334–361). While not considered a canonical religious text, the Mahavamsa is an important text in Theravada Buddhism. It covers the early history of religion in Sri Lanka, beginning with the time of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. It also briefly recounts the history of Buddhism in India, from the date of the Buddha’s death to the various Buddhist councils where the Dharma was reviewed.

Origin:

Pāli

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Malay

An ethnic group of people predominantly from the Malay Peninsula including coastal Indonesia

Origin:

Melayu, English

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Maldive fish

Cured tuna traditionally produced in the Maldives and used as a staple in Sri Lankan cooking. It is similar to shrimp pastes and fish sauces used in Southeast Asia.

Origin:

English

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Mallung or Mallum

The word mallung means literally ‘to mix up’ and this delightful Sri Lankan dish can feature any number of different vegetables. It is a combination of shredded leafy greens, maldive fish, green chilli and coconut. For the greens, you could use almost anything: spinach, kale, silverbeet, chicory, beetroot or turnip leaves or mustard greens.

Origin:

Sinhalese

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Mara

Sri Lankan rosewood tree

Origin:

Sinhalese

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Marakkalaya

Muslim person or a Moor

Origin:

Sinhalese

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Maronite

A Christian ethno-religious group in Lebanon. They comprise more than 25% of the total population.

Origin:

Arabic

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Masala thosai

Crepe or pancake made from fermented rice batter and black lentils, and stuffed with a spiced potato filling

Origin:

Tamil

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Medin

Medin poya is the full moon day in the lunar month of Medin (in March). Medin commemorates the visit of Lord Buddha to his home in Lumbini, Nepal to preach to his father King Suddhodana and other relatives to show them the path to enlightenment and final deliverance.

There are twelve or thirteen poya days per year. Their names correspond to the Buddhist lunar months of the same name. They are VesākPosonEsalaNikiniBinaraVapIllUnduvapDuruthuNavamMedin and Bak.

If a month has two full moon days, the name of the second one is preceded by Adhi (meaning extra in Sinhala) as in Adhi Medin poya, etc.

Origin:

Pali, Sanskrit, Sinhalese

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Missi

Mistress or Madam

Origin:

Sinhalese

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Moor

European term for Sri Lankan Muslims who were descendants of Arab traders from the Middle East

Origin:

Portuguese, English

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Mudalali

Proprietor or boss

Origin:

Sinhalese

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Muezzin

The person appointed to lead, recite, the call to prayer for every event of prayer and worship in the mosque

Origin:

Arabic

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