Wangediya saha Molgaha ( mortar and Pestle) played significant roles in various rituals and practices in Sri Lanka. The mortar and pestle held a special place of reverence among ancestors, who considered them sacred objects. They strictly adhered to certain prohibitions, such as refraining from jumping over the Wangediya saha Molgaha, sitting on the mortar, or pushing it with their feet.
For example, during auspicious times for the rituals, Sri Lankan ancestors would drape a piece of white sacred cloth around the mortar (Sudu Piruwata Andaweema). They would then use the mortar and pestle to pound and prepare the necessary flour from grains. This careful and ceremonial preparation of sweets using wangediya saha molgaha was an integral part of Sri Lankan Cultural practices.
Pahina Wangediya, Big Mortar, or Ela Mortar, holds the distinction of being the largest among mortars. Its design prioritizes durability, thickness, and strength. Compared to other mortars, this particular one is notably heavier.
Originally, the main purpose of this mortar was to separate the husks from grains and subsequently grind them. This functionality led to its alternative name, “Pahina Wangediya.” It played a crucial role in processing various grains such as paddy, kurakkan, undu, and mung by peeling and whitening them.
The mouth of this mortar possesses a considerable depth, approximately equivalent to the size of a wrist, while the bottom is slightly smaller. Typically, this mortar is crafted using robust wood. The choice of wood was deliberate, as using stones for its construction could potentially damage the grains by breaking or turning them into flour.
The design of the Prime Mortar focuses on efficiently removing the outer skin or cover of the grains, ensuring optimal grain processing..
The pit mortar, also known as the flouring mortar, is slightly smaller in size compared to the ground mortar. Its external appearance showcases a slender and tall structure. This type of mortar is constructed with gaura wood. Notably, the mouth of the mortar is wide, while the bottom circle is relatively small, usually up to the size of a palm.
Strong woods are commonly used in the construction of these mortars. They were primarily utilized to finely grind rice, grains, or other materials. However, it was less common to add leaves and chillies to this particular mortar. It served as a tool for preparing flours used in New Year rituals and homemade sweets. Additionally, the pit mortar was also employed in grinding rice and green beans.