The astrologer plays a critical role in Sri Lankan society as he is believed to be able to predict one’s destiny based on the placement of the stars. Auspicious moments are valued because people believe that anything done at a specified time will bear positive fruits.
When a Child is Born - In most traditional Sri Lankan homes when a child is born the father or an elder of the family goes to the astrologer with the precise time of the child’s birth. This is done for two purposes. First to get a set of Sinhala letters, from which a name can be chosen for the child, and second, to request the astrologer to cast a horoscope for the child.
On the basis of the precise time of birth the astrologer gives three sets of letters from which a letter has to be chosen as the first letter of the child’s name. Thus if the auspicious letter is “A” the name will be something like “Asha” or “Anil.” The name of the child is determined after the timing of birth, not before.
When a Girl Attains Puberty - The astrologer casts a second horoscope for a girl when she attains puberty. This is based on the time of her first menstruation.
After a period of seclusion from males the girl is given a cleansing bath, usually by her mother. It is the astrologer who advises the elders regarding puberty rites and the auspicious time to give her first bath. He will also read this horoscope and predict some of the main events that are in store for the girl such as her marriage and her likelihood of producing offspring.
When Wedding Bells Ring - According to Sri Lankan culture a man and woman meet as partners in life because they were destined to be so by the power of their karma, actions in their previous lives.
In addition to reading the horoscopes in general, there is also a custom to compare certain features known as porondam of prospective marriage partners. If the respective families move forward with marriage it means “their horoscopes have matched.” This is a good sign. If a marriage takes place then again, the astrologer has a crucial role to play to fix the different auspicious times for the entire marriage ritual. This will include the time to exchange the wedding rings, the time to enter or leave the wedding house, the time to enter or leave the ceremonial pedestal.