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Although the civil war in the north and east of the island has thwarted subsequent census plans, it was estimated that the population in 2000 stood near nineteen million. There are three official languages in Sri Lanka: Sinhala, Tamil, and English.Sinhala, the language of the majority, and Tamil, spoken by Muslims as well as ethnic Tamils, are the primary languages of the island.The players and events that are part of the wildly popular national cricket team serve as symbolic foci of national culture.Further, the performance of certain islandwide customs, such as bowing in respect, serve as symbolic enactments of a national cultural identity.Other symbols central to Sri Lankan Buddhism and Sinhala mythology have also become icons of national identity, such as the Tooth Relic of the Buddha, the possession of which has provided legitimacy to Sinhala rulers for thousands of years.
Located on the west coast is the island's largest city, Colombo, a hub of international commerce as well as the seat of government administration located on its outskirts in Sri Jayawardenepura. According to the islandwide census in 1981, there were nearly 15 million inhabitants of Sri Lanka.
The official name of the nation is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
In 1972, the national constitution discarded the name Ceylon and adopted the name of Sri Lanka.
The betel leaf and oil lamp are used to mark special occasions.
Images of the island's natural resources, such as palm trees, gems, and beaches, are promoted as part of the tourist industry and other international commercial enterprises.
Besides the majority Sinhala Buddhists, the nation also includes Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamils of recent Indian origin, Muslims, semitribal Väddas, and Burghers, descendants of intermarriages between Sri Lankans and Europeans.