The Sinhalese (Sinhala: සිංහල ජාතිය Sinhala
Jathiya, also known as Hela) are an Indo-Aryan-speaking ethnic group
native to the island of Sri Lanka. They constitute about 75% of
the Sri Lankan population and number greater than 16.2 million.
The Sinhalese identity is based on language, historical heritage and
Sinhalese people speak the Sinhalese language, an
Indo-Aryan language, and are predominantly
although a small percentage of Sinhalese follow branches of
Christianity. The Sinhalese are mostly found in North central,
Central, South, and West Sri Lanka. According to the 5th century epic
poem Mahavamsa, and the Dipavamsa, a 3-5th century treatise written in
Buddhist monks of the
Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya
Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya in Sri Lanka,
the Sinhalese are descendants of settlers who came to the island in
Sinhapura in India, led by Prince Vijaya. Modern
Sinhalese are very dark complexioned with distinct features only
present in people of Southern
India and Indonesia.
2.1 Ancient history
2.1.1 Early kingdoms
2.2 Medieval history
2.3 Modern history
3.3 Language and literature
3.4 Art and architecture
3.6 Film and theatre
3.7 Performing arts
3.8 Martial arts
3.9 Science and education
5 Geographic distribution
5.1 Sri Lanka
6 Ethnic origins
6.1 Folklore and national mythology
7 See also
9 Other references
10 External links
Sanskrit word Sinhala, meaning literally "of lions".
Sanskrit meaning is 'Sinha' (lion) + 'la' (blood or
Mahavamsa records the origin of the
Sinhalese people and related
historical events. It traces the historical origin of the Sinhalese
people back to the first king of Sri Lanka, Vijaya, who is the son of
Sanskrit meaning 'Sinha' (lion) + 'bahu' (hands, feet), the
ruler of Sinhapura. According to the Mahavamsa,
Sinhabahu was the son of princess Suppadevi of the Vanga, who
copulated with the king of the beast, a lion (there is no clear
reference in the original text whether it was a lion or a man with
lion-like features), and gave birth to a daughter called Sinhasivali
and to a son, Sinhabahu, whose hands and feet were like the paws
of a lion and who had the strength of a lion. King Vijaya, lineage of
Sinhabahu, according to the
Mahavamsa and other historical sources,
arrived to the island of
Tambapanni (Sri Lanka), and gave origin to
the lion people, Sinhalese.
The story of the arrival of
Prince Vijaya to Sri Lanka, and the origin
Sinhalese people is also depicted in the Ajanta caves, in a
mural of cave number 17.
See also: History of Sri Lanka, Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Culavamsa, List
of Sinhalese monarchs, and Sinhala Kingdom
1 A section of the mural at Ajanta in Cave No 17, depicts the 'coming
of Sinhala'.The prince (Prince Vijaya) is seen in both of groups of
elephants and riders.
2 The consecration of King Sinhala (Prince Vijaya) (Detail from the
Ajanta Mural of Cave No 17).
2001 Census was only carried out in 18 of the 25 districts.
Source:Department of Census
Data is based on
Sri Lankan Government
Sri Lankan Government Census.
House of Vijaya
House of Vijaya and Prince Vijaya
Early recorded history of the Sinhalese is chronicled in two
documents, the Mahavamsa, written in
Pāli around the 4th century CE,
and the much later
Culavamsa (probably penned in the 13th century CE
Buddhist monk Dhammakitti). These are ancient sources which
cover the histories of the powerful ancient Sinhalese kingdoms of
Polonnaruwa which lasted for 1500 years. The
Mahavamsa describes the existence of fields of rice and reservoirs,
indicating a well-developed agrarian society.
Main articles: Kingdom of
Tambapanni and Kingdom of Upatissa Nuwara
Prince Vijaya and his 700 followers left Suppāraka, landed on the
island at a site believed[by whom?] to be in the district of Chilaw,
near modern-day Mannar, and founded the Kingdom of Tambapanni.
It is recorded the Vijaya made his landing on the day of Buddha's
death. Vijaya claimed
Tambapanni his capital and soon the whole
island come under this name.
Tambapanni was originally inhabited and
governed by Yakkhas, having their capital at Sirīsavatthu and their
queen Kuveni. According to the Samyutta Commentary,
one hundred leagues in extent.
After landing in
Tambapanni Vijaya met
Kuveni the queen of the
Yakkhas, who was disguised as a beautiful woman but was really a
'yakkini' (devil) named Sesapathi.
At the end of his reign, Vijaya, having trouble choosing a successor,
sent a letter to the city of his ancestors, Sinhapura, in order to
invite his brother Sumitta to take over the throne. However,
Vijaya had died before the letter had reached its destination, so the
elected minister of the people Upatissa, the Chief government
minister or prime minister and leading chief among the Sinhalese
became regent and acted as regent for a year. After his coronation,
which was held in the Kingdom of Tambapanni, he left it, building
another one, bearing his own name. While he was king, Upatissa
established the new capital Upatissa, in which the kingdom was moved
to from the Kingdom of Tambapanni. When Vijaya's letter arrived,
Sumitta had already succeeded his father as king of his country, and
so he sent his son Panduvasdeva to rule Upatissa Nuwara.
Upatissa Nuwara was seven or eight miles further north of the Kingdom
of Tambapanni. It was named after the regent king
Upatissa, who was the prime minister of Vijaya, and was founded in 505
BC after the death of Vijaya and the end of the Kingdom of Tambapanni.
In 377 BC, King Pandukabhaya (437–367 BC) moved the capital to
Anuradhapura and developed it into a prosperous city.
Anuradhapura (Anurapura) was named after the minister who first
established the village and after a grandfather of Pandukabhaya who
lived there. The name was also derived from the city's establishment
on the auspicious asterism called Anura.
Anuradhapura was the
capital of all the monarchs who ruled from the dynasty.
Rulers such as Dutthagamani, Valagamba, and
Dhatusena are noted for
defeating the South Indians and regaining control of the kingdom.
Other rulers who are notable for military achievements include
Gajabahu I, who launched an invasion against the invaders, and Sena
II, who sent his armies to assist a
Main articles: Medieval history of
Sri Lanka and Kingdom of
The Flag of the King of
Kandy in 1815
During the middle ages
Sri Lanka was well known for its agricultural
prosperity under the Parakramabahu in
Polonnaruwa during which period
the island was famous around the world as the rice mill of the east.
Later in the 13th century the country's administrative provinces were
divided into three independent kingdoms: Kingdom of Sitawaka, Kingdom
of Kotte and the Kandyan kingdom. The invasion by Magha in the
13th century led to migrations by the Sinhalese to areas not under his
control. This migration was followed by a period of conflict among the
Sinhalese chiefs who tried to exert political supremacy.
Parakramabahu VI in the 15th century was the only Sinhalese king
during this time who could bring back the unity of the whole island.
Trade also increased during this period, as
Sri Lanka began to trade
Cinnamon and a large number of Muslim traders were bought into the
In the 15th century a
Kandyan Kingdom formed which divided the
Sinhalese politically into low-country and up-country.
The Sinhalese have a stable birth rate and a population that has been
growing at a slow pace relative to
India and other Asian countries.
Main article: Culture of Sri Lanka
Sinhalese girl in Osaria
Sinhalese culture is a unique one dating as far back as 2600 years and
has been nourished by
Theravada Buddhism. Its main domains are
sculpture, fine arts, literature, dancing, poetry and a wide variety
of folk beliefs and rituals traditionally. Ancient Sinhalese stone
sculpture and inscriptions are known worldwide and is a main foreign
attraction in modern tourism. Sigirirya is famous for its frescoes.
Folk poems were sung by workers to accompany their work and narrate
the story of their lives. Ideally these poems consisted of four lines
and, in the composition of these poems, special attention had been
paid to the rhyming patterns.
Buddhist festivals are dotted by unique
music using traditionally Sinhala instruments. More ancient rituals
like tovils (devil exorcism) continue to enthral audiences today and
often praised and admired the good and the power of Buddha and gods in
order to exorcise the demons.
Traditional bride wearing Maala Hatha (7 necklaces).
Traditionally during recreation the Sinhalese wear a sarong (sarama in
Sinhala). Men may wear a long-sleeved shirt with the sarong, while
women wear a tight-fitting, short-sleeved jacket with a wrap-around
called the cheeththaya. In the more populated areas, most Sinhalese
men wear Western-style clothing — wearing suits while the women wear
trousers, skirts and blouses. For formal and ceremonial occasions
women often wear the traditional Kandyan (Osaria) style, which
consists of a full blouse which covers the midriff completely, and is
partially tucked in at the front. However, modern intermingling of
styles has led to most wearers baring the midriff. The Kandyan style
is considered the national dress of Sinhalese women. In many occasions
and functions, even the saree plays an important role in women's
clothing and has become the de facto clothing for female office
workers especially in government sector. An example of its use is the
uniform of air hostesses of Sri Lankan Airlines.
A Sri Lankan rice and curry dish.
Main article: Sinhalese cuisine
Sinhalese cuisine is one of the most complex cuisines of South Asia
and has its roots going back to the native people of Sri Lanka, South
East Asia (especially Indonesia and Malaysia) and Southern India. Due
to its proximity to South India,
Sinhalese cuisine shows some
influence, yet is in many ways quite distinct. As a major trade hub,
it draws influence from colonial powers that were involved in Sri
Lanka and by foreign traders. Rice, which is consumed daily, can be
found at any occasion, while spicy curries are favourite dishes for
lunch and dinner. Some of the Sri Lankan dishes have striking
Kerala cuisine, which could be due to the similar
geographic and agricultural features with Kerala. A well-known rice
dish with Sinhalese is Kiribath, meaning "Milk Rice." In addition to
sambols, Sinhalese eat "Mallung"- chopped leaves mixed with grated
coconut and red onions.
Coconut milk is found in most Sri Lankan
dishes to give the cuisine its unique flavour.
Sri Lanka has long been renowned for its spices. The best known is
cinnamon which is native to Sri Lanka. In the 15th and 16th centuries,
spice and ivory traders from all over the world who came to Sri Lanka
brought their native cuisines to the island, resulting in a rich
diversity of cooking styles and techniques. Lamprais rice boiled in
stock with a special curry, accompanied by frikkadels (meatballs), all
of which is then wrapped in a banana leaf and baked as a
Dutch-influenced Sri Lankan dish. Dutch and Portuguese sweets also
continue to be popular. British influences include roast beef and
roast chicken. Also, the influence of the Indian cooking methods and
food have played a major role in what Sri Lankans eat.
The island nation's cuisine mainly consists of boiled or steamed rice
served with curry. This usually consists of a "main curry" of fish or
chicken, as well as several other curries made with vegetables,
lentils and even fruit curries. Side-dishes include pickles, chutneys
and "sambols". The most famous of these is the coconut sambol, made of
ground coconut mixed with chili peppers, dried
Maldive fish and lime
juice. This is ground to a paste and eaten with rice, as it gives zest
to the meal and is believed to increase appetite.
Language and literature
Sinhala language and Sri Lankan literature
The word Sinhala in Yasarath font.
An ola leaf manuscript written in Sinhala.
The Sinhalese speak Sinhala, also known as "Helabasa"; this language
has two varieties, spoken and written. Sinhala is an Indo-Aryan
language within the broader group of Indo-European languages. The
language was brought to
Sri Lanka by the ancestors of the Sinhalese
India who settled on the island in the 6th century
BCE. Sinhala developed in a way different from the other
Indo-Aryan languages because of the geographic separation from its
Indo-Aryan sister languages. Sinhala was influenced by many languages,
prominently Pali, the sacred language of Southern Buddhism, and
Sanskrit. Many early Sinhala texts such as the Hela Atuwa were lost
after their translation into Pali. Other significant Sinhala texts
include Amāvatura, Kavu Silumina, Jathaka Potha and Sala Liheeniya.
Sinhala has also adopted many loanwords of foreign origin, including
from many Indian languages and colonial languages Portuguese, Dutch,
Sandesha Kavyas written by
Buddhist priests of
Sri Lanka are regarded
as some of the most sophisticated and versatile works of literature in
the world. The
Sinhala language was mainly inspired by
Pali, and many words of the
Sinhala language derive from these
languages. Today some English words too have come in as a result of
the British occupation during colonial times, and the exposure to
foreign cultures through television and Hollywood movies. Additionally
many Dutch and Portuguese words can be seen in the coastal areas.
Folk tales like Mahadana Muttha saha Golayo and Kawate Andare continue
to entertain children today. Mahadana Muttha tells the tale of a fool
cum Pundit who travels around the country with his followers (Golayo)
creating mischief through his ignorance. Kawate Andare tells the tale
of a witty court jester and his interactions with the royal court and
In the modern period, Sinhala writers such as Martin Wickremasinghe
and G. B. Senanayake have drawn widespread acclaim. Other writers
of repute include
Mahagama Sekera and Madewela S. Ratnayake. Martin
Wickramasinghe wrote the immensely popular children's novel Madol
Duwa. Munadasa Cumaratunga's Hath Pana is also widely known.
Art and architecture
Architecture of Sri Lanka
Jetavanaramaya is one of the tallest structures in the ancient world
Gilded bronze statue of the Bodhisattva Tara, from the Anuradhapura
period, 8th century.
Many forms of Sri Lankan arts and crafts take inspiration from the
island's long and lasting
Buddhist culture which in turn has absorbed
and adopted countless regional and local traditions. In most instances
Sri Lankan art originates from religious beliefs, and is represented
in many forms such as painting, sculpture, and architecture. One of
the most notable aspects of Sri Lankan art are caves and temple
paintings, such as the frescoes found at Sigiriya, and religious
paintings found in temples in
Temple of the Tooth
Temple of the Tooth Relic
in Kandy. Other popular forms of art have been influenced by both
natives as well as outside settlers. For example, traditional wooden
handicrafts and clay pottery are found around the hill country while
Portuguese-inspired lacework and Indonesian-inspired
Batik have become
notable. It has many different and beautiful drawings.
Developed upon Indo-Aryan architectural skills in the late 6th century
Sinhalese people who lived upon greater kingdoms such as
Polonnaruwa have built so many architectural examples
such as Ruwanwelisaya,
Jetavanaramaya - second tallest brick building
in the ancient world after Great Pyramid of Giza, and
third tallest brick building in the ancient world. And also with the
ancient hydraulic technology which is also unique to Sinhalese people
to build ancient tanks, systematic ponds with fountains moats and
Irrigational reservoirs such as Parakrama Samudra, Kawdulla and
Kandalama. Sigirya which consider as the 8th wonder of the world is a
combination of natural and man made fortress, which consists so many
Main article: Music of Sri Lanka
Concerning popular music,
Ananda Samarakoon developed the reflective
and poignant Sarala gee style with his work in the late 1930s/early
1940s. He has been followed by artists of repute such as Sunil
Shantha, W. D. Amaradeva, Premasiri Khemadasa, Nanda Malini, Victor
Ratnayake, Austin Munasinghe, T. M. Jayaratne, Sanath Nandasiri, Sunil
Edirisinghe, Neela Wickremasinghe, Gunadasa Kapuge, Malini
Bulathsinghala and Edward Jayakody.
Film and theatre
Main article: Cinema of Sri Lanka
Ediriweera Sarachchandra revitalised the drama form with
Maname in 1956. The same year, film director Lester James Peries
created the artistic masterwork
Rekava which sought to create a
uniquely Sinhala cinema with artistic integrity. Since then, Peries
and other directors like Vasantha Obeysekera, Dharmasena Pathiraja,
Mahagama Sekera, W. A. B. de Silva, Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, Sunil
Ariyaratne, Siri Gunasinghe, G. D. L. Perera, Piyasiri Gunaratne,
Titus Thotawatte, D. B. Nihalsinghe, Ranjith Lal, Dayananda
Gunawardena, Mudalinayake Somaratne, Asoka Handagama, and Prasanna
Vithanage have developed an artistic Sinhala cinema. Sinhala cinema is
often made colourful with the incorporation of songs and dance adding
more uniqueness to the industry.
In the recent years high budget films like Aloko Udapadi, Aba (film)
Maharaja Gemunu based on Sinhalese epic historical stories gain
Performing arts of the
Sinhalese people can be categorised into few
Kandyan dance consist of 18 Wannam (dance routines) featuring
behaviours of various animals such as elephant, eagle, cobra, monkey,
peacock and rabbit, mainly performing in Annual Perahara pegent in Sri
Dalada Maligawa Kandy.
Pahatharata dance have significant dancing style which is using for
cure illnesses and spiritual clarification.the main feature in this
dances is dancer wear on Masks representing various Gods and
Demons.and use elements such as fire and water to bless people.
Sabaragamuwa dances have also a significant dancing style mainly to
Folk Music and Dances differ according to the casts of Sinhalese
people and also some times in regional wise - mainly popular among
small children, specially girls.These arts are widely performing
during Sinhalese New year period.
Main article: Sinhalese martial arts
Angampora high click.
Angampora is the traditional martial art of the Sinhalese people. It
combines combat techniques, self-defence, sport, exercise and
meditation. Key techniques observed in Angampora are: Angam, which
incorporates hand-to-hand fighting, and Illangam, which uses
indigenous weapons such as Velayudaya, staves, knives and swords. Its
most distinct feature is the use of pressure point attacks to inflict
pain or permanently paralyse the opponent. Fighters usually make use
of both striking and grappling techniques, and fight until the
opponent is caught in a submission lock that they cannot escape. Usage
of weapons is discretionary. Perimeters of fighting are defined in
advance, and in some of the cases is a pit. Angampora became
nearly extinct after the country came under British rule in 1815, but
survived in a few families until the country regained
Science and education
Main article: Education in Sri Lanka
Sinhala ola leaf Medical Manuscripts.
The Sinhalese have a long history of literacy and formal learning.
Instruction in basic fields like writing and reading by
pre-date the birth of Christ. This traditional system followed
religious rule and was meant to foster
Training of officials in such skills as keeping track of revenue and
other records for administrative purposes occurred under this
Technical education such as the building of reservoirs and canals was
passed down from generation to generation through home training and
outside craft apprenticeships.
The arrival of the Portuguese and Dutch and the subsequent
colonisation maintained religion as the centre of education though in
certain communities under Catholic and Presbyterian hierarchy. The
British in the 1800s initially followed the same course. Following
1870 however they began a campaign for better education facilities in
Christian missionary groups were at the forefront of this
development contributing to a high literacy among Christians.
By 1901 schools in the South and the North were well tended. The inner
regions lagged behind however. Also, English education facilities
presented hurdles for the general populace through fees and lack of
Traditional Sinhalese villages in early days had at least one chief
Medical personnel called Weda Mahaththaya (Doctor). These people
practice their clinical activities by inheritance. The Sinhala
Medicine resembles some of Ayurvedic practices in contrast for some
treatments they use
Buddhist Chantings (Pirith) in order to strengthen
According to the Mahavamsa, the ancient chronicle, Pandukabhaya of Sri
Lanka (437 BC-367 BC) had lying-in-homes and Ayurvedic hospitals
(Sivikasotthi-Sala) built in various parts of the country. This is the
earliest documentary evidence we have of institutions specifically
dedicated to the care of the sick anywhere in the world.
Mihintale Hospital is the oldest in the world.
Main articles: Buddhism in
Sri Lanka and
Christianity in Sri Lanka
The Buddha statue at Mihintale.
The form of Buddhism in
Sri Lanka is known as
Theravada (school of
Pali chronicles (e.g., the Mahavansa) claim that the
Sinhalese as an ethnic group are destined to preserve and protect
Buddhism. In 1988 almost 93% of the Sinhalese speaking population in
Sri Lanka were Buddhist. Observations of current religious beliefs
and practices demonstrate that Sinhalese as a religious community have
complex worldview as Buddhists. On two occasions Buddhism was
completely erased from
Sri Lanka and the religion was brought back by
emissaries from Myanmar and Thailand. Due to the proximity to India
and similarity of certain doctrines, there are many areas where
Buddhists and Hindus share religious views and practices. This can
lead to the opinion that Buddhists have adopted religious elements
from Hindu traditions in their religious practices. Some of these
practices may relate to ancient indigenous beliefs and traditions
practiced by the native people of the island based on spirits, worship
of deities and godlings and some figures appear to demons. Some of
these demonic figures are used in healing rituals and may be native to
Prominent Sri Lankan anthropologists
Gananath Obeyesekere and Kitsiri
Malalgoda used the term "
Protestant Buddhism" to describe a type of
Buddhism that appeared among the Sinhalese in
Sri Lanka as a response
Protestant Christian missionaries and their evangelical activities
during the British colonial period. This kind of Buddhism involved
Protestant strategies of organising religious practices.
They saw the need to establish
Buddhist schools for educating Buddhist
youth and organising Buddhists with new organisations such as the
Buddhist Association, as well as printing pamphlets to
encourage people to participate in debates and religious controversies
to defend Buddhism.
There is a significant Sinhalese
Christian community, in the maritime
provinces of Sri Lanka.
Christianity was brought to the Sinhalese
by Portuguese, Dutch, and British missionary groups during their
respective periods of rule. Most Sinhala Christians are Roman
Catholic; a minority are Protestant. Their cultural centre is
Religion is considered very important among the Sinhalese. According
to a 2008 Gallup poll, 99% of Sri Lankans considered religion an
important aspect of their daily lives.
Distribution of majority ethnicity by DS Division according 2012
Sri Lanka the majority of the Sinhalese reside in the South,
Central, Sabaragamuwa and Western parts of the country. This coincides
with the largest Sinhalese populations areas in Sri Lanka. Cities with
a > 90% population include Hambantota, Galle, Gampaha, Kurunegala,
Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.
Distribution of Sinhalese in
Sri Lanka (2012)
Main article: Sri Lankan diaspora
The spread of
Sinhalese language in the United States
Sinhalese people have emigrated out to many countries for a variety of
reasons. The larger diaspora communities are situated in the United
United States and
Canada among others. In addition
to this there are many Sinhalese, who reside in the Middle East,
Southeast Asia and Europe, temporarily in connection with employment
and/or education. They are often employed as guest workers in the
Middle East and professionals in the other regions.
The largest population centres of the Sinhalese diaspora are mainly
situated in Europe, North America and Australia. The city of Melbourne
contains just under half of the Sri Lankan Australians. The 2011
census recorded 86,412
Sri Lanka born in Australia. There are 73,849
Australians (0.4 of the population) who reported having Sinhalese
ancestry in 2006. The
Sinhalese language was also reported to be the
29th-fastest-growing language in
Australia (ranking above Somali but
behind Hindi and Belarusian). Sinhalese Australians have an
exceptionally low rate of return migration to Sri Lanka. In the 2011
Canadian Census, 7,220 people identified themselves as of Sinhalese
ancestry, out of 139,415 Sri Lankans. There are a small amount of
Sinhalese people in India, scattered around the country, but mainly
living in and around the northern and southern regions. Sri Lankan
New Zealanders comprised 3% of the Asian population of
New Zealand in
2001. The numbers arriving continued to increase, and at the 2006
census there were over 7,000 Sri Lankans living in New Zealand. The
Sinhalese number about 12,000 in the U.S. The New York City
Metropolitan Area contains the largest Sri Lankan community in the
United States, receiving the highest legal permanent resident Sri
Lankan immigrant population, followed by
Central New Jersey
Central New Jersey and
the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Many Sinhalese have migrated to
Italy since the 1970s.
Italy was attractive to the Sinhalese due to
perceived easier employment opportunities and entry, compared to other
European countries. It is estimated that there are 30,000-33,000
Sinhalese in Italy. The major Sinhalese communities in
Lombardia (In the districts Loreto and Lazzaretto), Milan,
Lazio, Rome, Naples, and Southern
Italy (Particularly Palermo, Messina
and Catania). Though
Sinhala people in particular and Sri Lankans in
general have migrated to the UK over the centuries beginning from the
colonial times, the number of
Sinhalese people in the UK cannot be
estimated accurately due to inadequacies of census in the UK. The UK
government does not record statistics on the basis of language or
ethnicity and all Sri Lankans are classified into one group as Asian
British or Asian Other.
Folklore and national mythology
Statue of Ravana, the legendary king of Lanka. Some[who?] believe
Sinhalese are descended from Great king Ravana
According to the Mahavamsa, the Sinhalese are descended from the
Prince Vijaya and his party of seven hundred followers who
arrived on the island in 543 BCE. Vijaya and his followers were said
to have arrived in
Sri Lanka after being exiled from the city of
Sinhapura in Bengal. The modern
Sinhalese people as said in the
Mahavamsa were found to be most closely related to the people of
India (Bengal). It is thought throughout Sri
Lanka's history, since the founding of the Sinhalese in the 5th
century BC that an influx of Indians from North
India came to the
island. This is further supported from the
Sinhalese language being
part of the
Indo-Aryan language group. Sinhalese derives from the
Maharashtri Prakrit, along with Marathi, Konkani and Dhivehi.
Main article: Genetic studies on Sinhalese
Genetic distance of Sinhalese to other ethnic groups in the Indian
Subcontinent according to an Alu Polymorphism analysis.
Modern studies point towards a predominantly Bengali contribution and
a minor Tamil and Western Indian (Gujarati) contribution. In
relation to the former, studies also show the Sinhalese possess
genetic links with East Asian and Southeast Asian populations due to
their close genetic links to Northeast India. Certain Y-DNA
and mtDNA haplogroups and genetic markers of immunoglobulin among the
Sinhalese, for example, show East and Southeast Asian genetic
affinities many of which are also found among certain Northeast Indian
populations of whom the Sinhalese are genetically related
Buddhism in Sri Lanka
List of Sinhalese people
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