The Royal Protocol
Arya Cakravartti Dynasty
The Royal Customs and Traditions
Greeting A Member Of The Royal Family
On presentation to The Raja, the correct formal address is “Your Royal Highness“ in the first instance and thereafter as “Sir“.
For male members of the Royal Family the same rules apply, with the title used in first instance being “Your Highness“ and thereafter as “Sir“.
For female members of the Royal Family the same rules apply, with the title used in first instance being “Your Highness“ and thereafter as “Ma’am“.
Sri Lanka has a diverse culture with different ethnicities. In Tamil culture, the gesture is known as “Vanakkam” and the Sinhalese way of greeting is by saying “Ayubowan”. The two palms are placed together in front of the chest and bowing the head slightly whilst saying the word “Vanakkam” or “Ayubowan”. The western custom of shaking hands is the customary form of greeting, but you have to wait until The Raja extends his hand, and you may give it a brief and gentle grasp.
It is customary to welcome guests with Flower Garlands and the garland of flowers is placed around a guest’s neck as a welcoming gesture. The garland of flowers or bouquet of flowers should be presented with both hands to The Raja. The Raja is exempt from this practice.
The Traditional Alathi Ceremony
“Alathi” is the traditional welcome extended to guests. The guests are welcomed with fragrant Rose Water (Paneer) which is lightly sprinkled on guests. The “Pottu” is the application of a “Kunkumam” and “Chandanam” dot adorned on the forehead of the guests. The Kunkumam is a red powder made of Turmeric or Saffron and the Sandalwood paste is called Chandanam. After the “Alathi” it is inappropriate to sprinkle Rose Water, and to adorn the forehead of The Raja with Kunkumam and Chandanam Pottu.
The Traditional Ponnadai
The traditional “Ponnadai”, a rich brocade shawl adorned around the shoulders of a dignitary who is being honoured. The shawl known as Ponnadai in Tamil and Ponnada in Malayalam. The literal meaning would be “Precious Golden Cloth”. The shawl should not be directly adorned around the shoulders of The Raja but it should be presented to The Raja with both hands.
Etiquette For Presentation Of Gifts
If you are presenting a gift in the form of a souvenir, letter or flowers to The Raja in a formal function, present the gift with both hands as a sign of courtesy.
The custom of inheritance of the throne is passed on according to primogeniture in the Kingdom of Jaffna. Failing this, if there are no sons, the throne passes to the Brother or a Nephew, the son of a Brother or a Sister.
The first twelve monarchs, who succeeded their fathers, were independent monarchs of the Kingdom of Jaffna. The rest of the Kings of Jaffna ruled under the suzerainty of the Portuguese.
The Royal Titles are not inherited in perpetuity but lapse gradually over generations. The Head of the Royal House of Jaffna is the source of all Titles, Styles and Honours. The Head of the Royal House has the right to grant Styles and Titles and no Style or Title is valid unless granted or confirmed by the Head of the Royal House.
The Head of the Royal House of Jaffna bear the Title of the Raja with the Style of His Royal Highness (HRH).
The Raja's wife and his heirs bear the Title of Ilavarasan or Ilavarasi with the Style of His Royal Highness or Her Royal Highness (HRH) within the dynasty.
Within the Royal House all members of the Royal Family bear the Title of "Ilavarasan" (Prince) or "Ilavarasi" (Princess) and the Royal Style includes the qualification of "Royal Highness" (HRH) or "Highness" (HH), according to the hereditary customs of Jaffna.
Other members of the Royal House bear the Title of Ilavarasan or Ilavarasi with the Style of His Highness or Her Highness (HH).
Some of the members of the Royal House bear the Title of Ilavarasan or Ilavarasi without any Styles.
The female members of the Royal House can use the Style and Title after their marriage, but they are not entitled to transmit their Royal Style or Title to their spouses or children. The spouses of members of the Royal House will not be entitled to use their Royal Style and Title in case of divorce. If a member of the Royal House should marry a commoner they will not be entitled to use their Royal Style of "Royal Highness" (HRH) or "Highness" (HH) and they will hold the Title of Ilavarasan (Personal name) or Ilavarasi (Personal name).