Festivals and Traditional Events Calendar
January – Duruthu Perahara Pageant
A colorful religious pageant at the Kelaniya Temple situated 12 KM away from the city of Colombo, It is a colorful procession of caparisoned elephants, torch bearers and traditional dancers.
February 4th National Day
The day commemorates the granting of independence to Sri Lanka by the British on 4th January 1948. It is a great patriotic and National occasion celebrated with colorful parades and pageants depicting nations culture and achievements.
February- Navam Perahehra pageant
A colorful traditional perahera pageant organized by the Gangaramaya templein Colombo parades the city streets for two nights. Dancers whip crackers Dressed elephants make it a unforgettable event.
April 13th & 14th Sinhala & Tamil New Year
The two ethnic groups in Sri Lanka the Sinhalese and the Tamils celebrate a common traditional New Year in the month of April, originally a thanksgiving after the Harvest. This event marks the passage of sun from Pisces to Aries. Traditional customs are observed on this day with merry making , fun and games and lavish hospitality.
April – Nuwara Eliya Season
Nuwara Eliya comes alive during A pril to entertain thousands of visitors who flock to this salubrious Hill station to avoid the heat and humidity experience in most parts of the island during the month of April. Nuwara Eliya offers the visitors numerous entertainment and activities during this season. These include the Mahagastota hill climb motor races, mount bike races, and several turf events at its race course, Among them are the Governors’ cup ( a revival of the Colonial horse racing event and other races). The resorts’ major horticulture events – flower and agriculture shows and Garden competitions, are also schedules during April. Other seasonal events include the Golf, Tennis tournaments , Live music fiestas and Dances organized at the various hotels. Nuwara Eliya has a mini season in August and December.
May – Vesak full moon day
Vesak full moon day is a thrice blessed day for Buddhists world over. It commemorates the birth of Prince Siddhartha, his attaining enlightenment, and passing away in to nirvana as Gauthama Buddha. It is a day of great sanctity devoted to religious observances and charity. The day is also celebrated with festivity with numerous colorful illuminations, pandals, and pageants. Much food and refreshments are distributed to passing people and pilgrims from wayside stalls
June – Poson full moon day
Poson, the full moon festival commemorates the advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC. The day is celebrated with religious observances. The center of festivities is at Mihintale ( 10 km from Anuradhapura) where the Buddhist Doctrine was preached to King Devanampiyatissa by Arhath Mahinda , son of the Great Emperor Asoka of India. Apart from the religious festivals there are illuminations, decorations and processions in various parts of the country.
July- August- September – Esala full moon day
Kandy Esala Perehara
The most magnificent of the festivals in Sri Lanka is the Kandy Esala Perahera’ A spectacular medieval day pageant is held for 10 nights with Kandyan Dancers and Drummers in colorful traditional costumes. Kandyan chieftains in medieval court dress, more than one hundred caparisoned Elephants, whip crackers, torch bearers different dance groups representing the south, Ratnapura, make the procession an unforgettable experience any one witnessing. Kandy
July- August Kataragama Festival
Kataragama the temple of god Kadiragamam a Hindu god celebrate their Esala festival in July/ August.
Kataragama is situated in the south east corner of the Island is a shrine visited not only by the Hindus but many Buddhist too visit the Shrine during this festival. The fire walking is a high light in this festival and you could see men hanging suspending on hooks pierced in to their bodies.
Dondra – Devinuwara – the city of Gods
Dondra is located at the southern most tip of the Island and is 160 km away from Colombo. The shrine dedicated to God Vishnu in dondra celebrate the Esala festival with a Colorful perahera (Procession) featuring Kandyan and Lower country dancers.
The Bellanwila temple is located in southern suburb of Colombo. Bellanwila temple Esala pageant is held during the July August and features Various types of Dancers and Dressed Elephants in procession.
Some of the Colombos main roads take on a festival atmosphere in August.Vel the Hindu festival takes place and ornately decorated Vel Chariot makes its annual trip carrying the weapons of God Skanda from one temple to another. Here too you could see men hanging suspending on hooks pierced in to their bodies.