by aditya abhishek
Chena agriculture is an ancient cultivation technique in Sri Lanka. Its history dates back 5,000 years old & is considered the oldest method of farming in Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka rice, the staple food of Sri Lanka was cultivated in paddy fields while vegetables & other cereal crops were cultivated in rain-fed fields known as "Chena."
Mostly men used to participate in the Chena cultivation system, but women and kids also played a crucial role in protecting crops from birds and animals.
Sri Lankans used to believe in rituals. Farmers who were void of impurities were called "Kili" and only they were allowed to practice chena cultivation after praying to their faith.
Moreover, astrology was also involved in the practice of Chena cultivation. The date and time of starting the cultivation was decided according to the astrology.
Villagers used to practice Chena cultivation collectively. One plot of chena was dedicated to every village which was further divided into individual shares among the villagers.
Four types of Chena are Navadali Hena, Ath Danduwa Hena, Mukulan Hena and Hen Kanaththa. Forest land is cleared, burned, and then crops are planted for cultivation.
Once the land becomes infertile, it is left untouched till natural vegetation regrows to the desired length and again the process starts during the dry season.
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