Here's a list of the most important festivals of the country. Their date of celebration in the year 2007 is also given for your convenience, however it is advisable for you to cross check the dates for any changes.
- Medin Full Moon Poya Day : This day commemorates the event
in the life of the Buddha when He went to teach His father King
Suddhondana and His relatives and introduced them to the path of
enlightenment and final deliverance. Observed in the month of March
every year, this day has the Sri Lankans renouncing worldly pursuit in
favour of religious activities.
2007 Date 3rd March
- The Bak Full Moon Poya Day : The day marks the second visit
of the Buddha to Sri Lanka which happened in the fifth year of His
Supreme Enlightenment. The Sri Lankans undertake religious activities on
2007 Date 2 April
- Sinhala & Tamil New Year Festival : This is the time
when the Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka celebrate
their New Year - Aluth Avurudda. It is not celebrated anywhere else in
the world and is a national holiday in Sri Lanka. This time also marks
the end of the harvest season because of which it become possible to
collect a whole lot of colourful fruits from the trees for the
celebrations. The new year sees people cleaning their house, women beat
the drums to inform everyone of the arrival of a fresh new year and
firecrackers are burst to add to the enthusiasm.
2007 Date 13 -14 April
- Vesak : As in
the rest of the world, Vesak is one of the most important annual
festivals celebrated by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The festival marks
the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha into Nirvana. On
this day, colourful bamboo-framed lanterns decorate every house, people
visit temples in large number and offer prayers from dawn to dusk. In
the evening, they participate in processions.
2007 Date 1st May
- The Poson Festival : This annual festival marks the
introduction of Buddhism in Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC. Throughout
the country celebrations take place, but the festival is best enjoyed in
Mihintale. The reason for this is that it was in this ancient city of
Sri Lanka that Mahindra, the son of Indian Emperor Asoka, converted the
king of the island country into a Buddhist. Later, the king also
declared Buddhism as the state religion.
2007 Date 30th June
- Kataragama : Though amongst the 16 most important places
for the Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Kataragama is significant for people of
other religion as well. The two week long festival begins every year
with the flag hoisting on the first night. This is followed by ritual
pujas performed by the Shamam priests every night. A meticulously
choreographed ritual shows the Kataragama God emerging from his Maha
Devale residence and riding in a grand torchlit procession upon a
beautifully adorned elephant to meet his beloved, the jungle princess
Valli, and then returning without being noticed. On the last night,
devotees walk over burning coals, and surprisingly no one is burnt.
Throughout the festival, the shouts of Hora Hara keeps the atmosphere
2007 Date - Jul - Aug
Perahera (Esala Perahera) : The festival is an amalgamation
of both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. The Hindus devote this festival to
their Skanda God while the Buddhist worship the sacred tooth relic that
was brought from India and is now kept safely in the temple of Dalada
Maligawa. During the procession, the replica of the tooth is carried in
a casket in a procession that is best described as been grand.
2007 Date - 18 August
- The Duruthu Perahera : This procession is carried out in
the Kelaniya Temple in Colombo and marks the Buddhas first visit
to Sri Lanka. The festival comprises three preheras or processions -
Udamaluwa Perahera, Pahathamaluwa Perahera and the Randoli Perahera. The
first of the processions begins from the terrace of the temple and has
the ritual handing over and placing of the secret casket on the
elephant. The second procession continues the first procession and leads
upto the third and the most magnificient Randoli Perahera. This
processions takes place on the day prior to January full moon.
2007 Date - January
- Unduvap : This day marks the visit of the Sangamitta, the
daughter of the great Indian Emperor Asoka, to Sri Lanka. She brought
along the sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree which was planted in ancient
capital of Anuradhapura. The tree still stands today.
s 2007 Date - December
- Other Festivals : Navam Full Monn Poya Day (February),
Nikini Full Moon Poya Day (August), Il Full Moon Poya Day (November),
Vap Full Moon Poya Day (October), Binara Full Moon Poya Day (September).