FESTIVALS & IMPORTANT EVENTS IN SRI LANKA

FEBRUARY

Independence Day (4th)
Celebrations full of pomp and pageantry mark the anniversary of Independence from Great Britain in 1948.

Navam Perahera (25th & 26th)
This is undoubtedly Colombo’s grandest outdoor parade, with a splendid display of Sri Lanka’s traditional forms of art: including performances by rhythmic dancers and drummers from around the island in a procession of over 100 caparisoned elephants.

Golf tournament

In the picturesque Victoria Golf and country resort the much awaited Donald Steel Golf Tournament is held.

MARCH

The annual hot air balloon festival takes place in Colombo. Participants from around the world attend.

APRIL

April ushers in the season for song and celebration, as the busy months spent tending paddy fields draw to a close.

Sinhala & Tamil New Year

When the sun moves from the Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aries) in the month of April (in Sinhala, the month of Bak) Sri Lankans (Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus) celebrate their New Year Aluth Avurudhu.

MAY

Vesak
Sri Lanka celebrates Vesak on full moon day in the month of May to commemorate the birth of Buddha, attaining Enlightenment and his passing away into Nirvana. There are many religious activities on this day including observation of Sil (a way of concentrating the mind to understand and practice Buddhist way of living) meditating, distributing various type of donations to needy people and to temples and lighting lanterns made from bamboo frames and covered in coloured papers at all temples and houses.  

Surfing

May is also the beginning of the Surfing period in Arugambay and is listed as one of the top ten surfers paradise in the world. The seas off Trincomalee in the East are also perfect for snorkeling as well as whale and dolphin watching.

JUNE

Poson Festival - Mihintale
This full moon festival commemorates the advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC with the arrival of Arahat Mahinda, son of Emperor Asoka of India to Mihitale. He preached the doctrine of the dhamma to King Devanampiyatissa, resulting in the king’s conversion and the widespread acceptance of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. This event is celebrated primarily at Mihintale and at the ancient capital of swiss replica watches Anuradhapura.

Festival of Madhu

Roman Catholics celebrate the fortnight-long festival of Our Lady of Madhu, culminating on July 2 with the Feast of the Visitation, at the jungle shrine of Madhu near Mannar – popular among pilgrims of all religions for its reputed healing powers.

JULY / AUGUST

Kandy Esala Perahera
The Esala Perahera, held in the hill capital of Kandy, is one of the most magnificent spectacles in Asia. It traces its roots to King Siri Meghavanna or Kithsiri Mevan (304-332 AD), during whose reign the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha – the centerpiece of the festival and symbol of the country’s sovereignty – was borne to Sri Lanka from Kalinga by a Brahmin princess; but its present form was inaugurated by the 18th century Kandyan King Kirti Sri Rajasingha.

The festival commences with nightly processions over 10 days and culminates in a day procession on the eleventh day. Hundreds of costumed dancers, drummers, musicians, torch-bearers, whip-crackers, acrobats and other participants parade along the streets, while colourfully caparisoned elephants pace majestically past.

Kataragama Festival
The ancient jungle shrine of Kataragama on the banks of the Menik (Gem) River in the Southeast corner of the island has been a place of pilgrimage for over two millennia and is the focal point of a two week-long festival and perahera in July/August honouring the Hindu war-god Skanda, also known as Murugan.


Katharagama Pada Yathra - Long March

Among the ancient living traditions that survive in Sri Lanka is the Kataragama Pada Yatra. Starting from the island’s far north and ending up to two months and several hundred kilometers later at the Kataragama shrine in Kataragama. Pada Yatra tradition has played a major role in propagating and perpetuating traditions of Kataragama throughout Sri Lanka and South India.

Vel Festival
This annual festival is celebrated when the ‘Vel’ or trident, the weapon of Kathiresan, an aspect of the Hindu war-god Skanda, is borne in a chariot from the Kathiresan kovil in Sea Street, Colombo 11 to a kovil in Bambalapitiya (Col. 4) or Wellawatte (Col. 6) in alternation each year. It lasts three days and nights and is distinguished by its carnival atmosphere.

Several Hindu kovils in the Jaffna Peninsula celebrate festivals during this season: among others, those at Nallur, Vallipuram, Maviddapuram, Nainativu island and Thondamannar, which features fire-walking. Fire-walking ceremonies are also held at Udappu and Mundel. The Kali Festival at Munneswaram, off Chilaw, is an annual draw.

Festival of St. Anne.

Roman Catholics observe the annual Feast of St. Anne, dedicated to the mother of the Virgin Mary, on July 26 at Talawila church – reputed as a place of miraculous healing - on the Kalpitiya peninsula.

SEPTEMBER

September is the month of Literature. The annual book fair “The Colombo International Book Fair” is the most attended event in Colombo. This is organised by the Sri Lanka Book Publishers Association.

The annual Vintage Car Rally is a popular event featuring an impressive line-up of over 125 “Old Crocks” ranging from the earliest cars to sporty MGs and convertibles of yesteryear. The annual Kite Festival, held in the heart of Colombo by the sea, offers a spectacular kaleidoscope of airborne creations that are truly breath-taking.

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER

Deepavali
Deepavali, the joyous Hindu Festival of Lights, is observed in late October or early November to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune. It marks the beginning of the financial year for the Hindu business community.

Ramazan
At the end of 28 days of fasting Muslims celebrate Id-Ul-Fitr (Ramazan) with prayers and delicious feasts, invitations to which are cherished by their friends of other faiths.

Whale / Dolphin watching

With the beginning of the season, the town of Kalpitiya in the North West is a must visit to see whales and Dolphins. Upto two thousand spinner dolphins have been reported during the season 

DECEMBER

Christmas(25th)
Christmas is celebrated in Sri Lanka in true style, with all the traditional trappings - except snow - and is eagerly anticipated by those of all perfect replica watches uk religions as a time of revelry. Indeed, the week leading up to the dawn of the New Year is one long extended period of goodwill and merry-making.

Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) Pilgrimage
The annual Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) Pilgrimage Season begins in late December, with devotees making the ascent to the 7362 ft. (2245 mt.) mountain’s summit up until the advent of the Southwest monsoon in April/May. The peak is crowned by the impression of a gigantic footprint, which is venerated by pilgrims of all religions. Buddhists pay homage to it as that of Lord Buddha, made during his third visit to the island; Hindus believe it was made by the Creative Dance of Siva; while Muslims and Christians believe it to be that of Adam, with Roman Catholics sometimes attributing it to St. Thomas.

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