Festivals and public Holidays Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has festivals and celebrations more than in other countries in the world. Sri Lanka Festival calendar which is insert into the Buddhist lunar calendar. Also with four main religions (Buddhist, Hindu, Muslims, and Christine) Including Above all January to until the End of December – 25 public holidays. besides, it can seem to grind to a halt with disconcerting frequency. Including 12 Full moon holidays (January – Durutu, February – Nawam, March – Madin, April – Bak, May -Vesak, June -Poson, July – Esala, August – Nikini, September – Binara, October – Vap, November – Ill, and December – Uduwap).  In Sri Lanka mostly Highlight festivals will be Buddhist and Hindu Festivals and celebrations.


Festivals Calendar – Sri Lanka

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1 ) Duruthu Poya

Marks the first of the Buddha’s three legendary visits to Sri Lanka, and celebrated with a spectacular perahera (parade) at the Raja Maha Vihara in the Colombo suburb of Kelaniya. The Duruthu Poya also marks the beginning of the three-month pilgrimage season to Adam’s Peak

2) Thai Pongal (Jan 14/15)

Hindu festival honoring the sun god  Surya, Indra (the bringer of rains) and the cow (in no particular order).  marked by ceremonies at Hindu temples, after which the first grains of the new paddy harvest are ceremonially cooked in milk in a special pot —the direction in which the liquid spills when it boils over is thought to indicate good or bad luck in the coming year. 

3) Galle Literary Festival (mid-Jan)

Eminent local and international wordsmiths and culture vultures descend on Galle.

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1) Navam Poya

Commemorates the Buddha’s announcement, at the age of 80, of his own impending death, celebrated with a major perahera at the Gangaramaya temple in Colombo, Although this dates only from 1979, it has become one of the islandS biggest festivals, featuring a procession of some fifty elephants 

2) Independence Day (National Day)

(Feb 4) Celebrates Sri Lanka’s independence on February 4, 1948, with parades, dances, and games. 

3) Maha Sivarathri (Feb/March) 

Hindu festival dedicated to Shiva,  during which devotees perform a one-day fast and an all-night Vigil. 

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1) Medin Poya

Marks the Buddha’s first visit to his father’s palace following his enlightenment. 

2) Good Friday (March/April) 

An Easter Passion play is performed on the island of Duwa, near Negombo.

3) Galle/Jaffna Music Festival

Three-day music festival held (usually in March) in Galle and Jaffna on alternate years and featuring an impressive line-up of local and international folk musicians, dancers and other performers.

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1) Bak Poya

Celebrates the Buddha’s second visit to Sri Lanka. 

2) Sinhalese and Tamil New Year

Coinciding with the start of the southwest monsoon and the end of the harvest season, the Buddhist and Hindu New Year is a family festival during which presents are exchanged and the traditional kiribath (rice cooked with milk and cut into diamond shapes) is prepared, Businesses close, rituals are performed, new clothes are worn and horoscopes are cast. April 13 is New Years April 14.

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1) Labour Day (May 1)

The traditional May Day bank Holiday. 

2) Vesak Poya 

The most important of the Buddhist poyas, is a threefold celebration commemorating the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death, all of which are traditionally thought to have happened on the day of the Vesak Poya. In addition, the last of the Buddha’s three alleged visits to Sri Lanka is claimed to have been on a Vesak Poya day. Lamps are lit in front of houses, and panda/s (platforms decorated with scenes from the life of the Buddha) are erected throughout the country Buses and cars are decorated with streamers, and free food (from rice and curry to Vesak sweetmeats) is distributed in roadside booths. Meanwhile, devout Buddhists visit temples, meditate and fast The day after the Vesak Poya is also a public holiday. The sale of alcohol, meat, and fish in public restaurants is prohibited for a six-day period around the poya day, though hotels and guesthouses may be able to circumvent this when *Ning their own guests. Vesak also marks the end of the Adams Peak pilgrimage season 

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1) Poson Poya

Second, only in importance to Vesak, Poson Poya commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Mahinda marked by mass pilgrimages to Anuradhapura, while thousands of white-robed pilgrims climb to the summit of Mihintale. 

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1) Esala Poya Celebrates the Buddha’s first sermon and the arrival of the Tooth Relic in Sri Lanka. The lunar month of Esala is the season of festivals, most notably the great Esala Perahera in Kandy Sri Lanka’s most extravagant festival. There are also festivals at Kataragama Dondra and Bellanwila (a southern Colombo suburb) and a big seven-day celebration at Unawatuna, during which thousands descend on the village and beach. 

2) Kataragama Festival Festival during which Hindu devotees fire-walk and indulge in various forms of ritual self-mutilation, piercing their skin with hooks and weights, and driving skewers through their cheeks and tongues.

Colombos most important Hindu festival, dedicated to Skanda/Kataragarna and featuring two exuberant processions during which the god’s diarist and vel (spear) are carried across the city from the Pettah to tees inWellawatta and Bambalapitiya. 

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1) Nikini Poya

Marks the retreat of the Bhikkhus following the buddha; death, commemorated by a period of fasting and of retreat for the monastic communities. 

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1) Binara Poya   

Commemorates the Buddha’s journey to heaven to preach to his mother and other deities. 

2) Dussehra (Sept/Oct)

Also known as Durga Puja, this Hindu festival honors Durga and also commemorates the day of Rama’s victory over Rawana.[/toggle_item][toggle_item title=”OCTOBER“]

1) Vap Poya

Marks the Buddha’s return to earth and the end of the Buddhist period of fasting. 

2) Deepavali 

(late Oct/early Nov) The Hindu Festival of Lights

(equivalent to North India’s Diwali), commemorating the return from exile of Rama, hero of the Ramayana (holy scripture), with the lighting of lamps in Tamil households (symbolic of the triumph of good over evil) and the wearing of new clothes. 

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1) Ill Fullmoon Poya

Commemorates the Buddha’s ordination of sixty disciples,

[/toggle_item][toggle_item title=”DECEMBER“]

1) Unduvap Poya Celebrates the arrival of the bo tree sapling in Anuradhapura, brought by Ashoka’s daughter, Sangamitta. 

2) Christmas (25Dec)

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