In addition to the weekends and full moon Poya days, Sri Lanka celebrates many holidays and festivals. Most of them being religious festivals. The full moon Poya day falls every month.
Sri Lanka has a population composed with many cultures and religions. Therefore we celebrate many festivals and religious events throughout the year.
FEBRUARY – Independence Day
Sri Lanka, which was a crown colony under the British, gained its independence on the 4th of February 1948. Since then we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of February every year with much pride and glory.
Nawam perahara which was initiated in 1979, is a festival filled with colors and excitement that draws so many tourists across the world every years. You could see groups of people blowing conch shells, stilt walkers and spectacular performances by the drummers. The herds of elephants dressed in bright colors, sounds of music played and the traditional dancers on the streets will truly mesmerize you.by people
MARCH – Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak)
The Adams Peak, which is also known as Sri Lankans Holy Mountain, is a remarkable creation that is sacred to three religions. This mountain is situated in a beautiful location in the southern hill country. The Adams peak is venerated by people all over the world as the Buddhist believe that the footprint at the summit belongs to Lord Buddha. And the Muslims believe that it belongs to Adam and Hindus as that of Shiva. The pyramid shaped 7360 ft mountain is a marvelous creation that draws tourists and visitors all over the globe.
APRIL – Sinhala and Tamil New Year
The Sinhala and Tamil new which falls on the 12th and 13th of April, is a festival which is celebrated with great excitement and joy. The reason behind the celebration is the journey of the sun from Meena to Mesha, which indicates a new beginning to the Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka. The Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a festival filled with rituals, traditional games, music and dance. This traditional event marks the harvest festival. In tradition to the traditional games and rituals, special food items and various sweets are prepared and served among neighbors and one another. It is that time of the year that friends, families and relatives reunite.
The April holiday season coincides with the Sinhala/Tamil New Year and Easter holidays during which all schools are closed for a month or more. If you intend combining business with pleasure, its best you avoid this period since most places shut down 8th and 20th April. In April most city dwellers retreat to the cooler climes of Nuwara Eliya and Bandarawela where they might enjoy “up-country” pursuits such as hiking, golfing and riding. The hill country resort town of Nuwara Eliya takes on a carnival atmosphere with garden exhibitions and competitions organised at the Park, entertainment such as dances organised at the hotels and horse races at the Nuwara Eliya race track.
MAY – Vesak
The Vesak festival which is considered as a religious and a cultural festival is undoubtedly the most beautiful event that takes place annually in Sri Lanka. It commemorates 3 important stages of Lord Buddha’s life, which is His birth, attainment of enlightenment, and passing away in to Nibbana.
If you walk down the streets on a Vesak Poya day, you will be able to enjoy the sight of the beautiful, enchanting Vesak lanterns in every house. Putting up huge Pandols that demonstrates important life stages and stories of lord Buddha’s life is a special feature in the Vesak festival. This blessed season is spent in togetherness spreading love and peace to the environment. Spend your vacation celebrating Vesak with us and enjoy a delicious free mean from a nearby “Dansala”
JUNE – Poson Mihintale Festival
The Poson festival which is also called the Mihintale festival, takes place in the month of June. The reason behind this celebration is the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Buddhism was brought to the country approximately 2,300 years ago with the arrival of Mahinda Tero who was sent by Emperor Asoka during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa.
Similar to the Vesak festival, people decorate their homes and streets with lanterns and Pandols during this festival. Tourists and visitors arriving to Sri Lanka during this month is indeed privileged to witness the beauty and elegance of the Mihintale festival.
JULY – Fruit Season, Kataragama Festival
Kataragama, being one of the most venerated sites of Sri Lanka is mainly dedicated to the Kataragama god. Kataragama is mostly visited as a day trip by tourists. The Kataragama festival is held in July and has been able to capture the attention of tourists and visitors all across the country as well as the globe.
The festival holds a special significance due to the different ways that pilgrims express their devotions to the Kataragama god. You will be amazed to watch some penitence pierce different parts of their bodies with skewers, and some of them walking across burning coal. The main intention is to believe that god will protect them from pain.
The month of July is also the season where fragrant markets overflows with the islands most exotic fruits. It is the best season that would fill up your tummy with some yummy fruits.
AUGUST – Kandy Esala Perahera
Among the various festivals held in Sri Lanka, the Kandy Esala Perahara holds a special position due to its religious and cultural richness. This festival is one of the reasons that bring tourists to Sri Lanka from across the world. The Kandy Esala Perahara was initiated as a celebration sacred to Paha Vishnu, the lord of island. And it was later celebrated as the festival of the sacred tooth relic. The traditional dancers, the sounds of the flourishing whips, the stilt walkers and the elephants dressed in glamorous bright colors grabs the attention of everyone enlightening the ceremony with excitement.
“Life is a festival only to the wise” – Ralph Waldo Imerson.
If you are planning to spend your vacation in Sri Lanka during the month of august, you are not only privileged to enjoy the sight of the Esala Perahara, but you will also be able to witness the Vel festival which is looked upon with great veneration by the Hindus.
The main feature of the festival is the procession where you could see a pair of snow white bulls carrying a statue of Lord Murugan on and ornate silver plated chariot.
SEPTEMBER – Vintage Car Rally
Come experience an exciting rally with over 125 classical vintage cars held annually during the month of September.
OCTOBER – Kite Festival
Flying kites is one of the famous ways of spending ones leisure time here in Sri Lanka. Take a walk on the beach sometime and you would observe a gazillion kites in enchanting colors floating around in the sky in every corner.
The kite festival is a fun, exciting contest held by the beach, on the Galle face green in the heart of Colombo city every year.
NOVEMBER – Deepavali
“The festival of lights”
Diwali, “The festival of lights”, is certainly the most beautiful among all Hindu festivals. It is celebrated in order to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good fortune into Hindu homes.
The festival is one of the brightest festivals as every home is decorated with oil lamps and lights.
DECEMBER – Christmas
The Sri Lankan Christians too celebrate Christmas together with the rest of the world. They enjoy Christmas by singing carols, preparing various types of foods and by exchanging gifts.