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Events and Festivals of Sri Lanka

Island country Sri Lanka has more festivals than any other country in the world. Blessed with four major religions, the country is rich in culture, because of the wide variety of people and ethnic groups that reside in every corner. The festivals here are culturally as well as spiritually significant and are deeply intertwined with the people who live here. From January till December, each and every occasion and event portray their values, customs, myths and folklores; thus giving a special identity to the country and its people.

The Festival Calendar


Thai Pongal
The four day harvest festival is dedicated to Sun God Suriyapakaran. It falls between mid-January (Tamil month of Thai); when the Sun enters Capricorn (Makara). An essential part of Sri Lankan culture, Thai Pongal is the First Rice Festival also known as UlavarThirunaal


MahaShivarathri - the Festival of Lord Shiva
Also known as Padmarajarathri in Sri Lanka is Great Night of Lord Shiva. On the 13th night / 14th night, Maagha month in the Hindu calendar; Hindu devotees pay home to Lord Shiva. Bells in the temples ring almost the whole day with the cry of Om Namah Shivaya. The Lingam is bathed with water, milk, honey, woodapple and bel leaves.

Nawam Maha Perahera
One of Sri Lanka’s most colourful and prestigious Buddhist cultural pageants; celebrated once in a year. Thousands of people from all over the world come to Colombo to witness 100 decorated elephants on the streets. This parade is attended by more than 1000 performers and school children who carry colourful flags.

Donald Steele Golf Tournament at the Victoria Golf
The Donald Steel Trophy attracts over 100 players from about 15 countries. Golfers from UK, Canada and New Zealand ensure the highest levels of sportsmanship. The tournament is organized in honour of Donald Steel, the architect of the challenging and picturesque Victoria golf course.


Madin Full Moon Poya
This day marks the occasion of when Prince Siddhartha visited his father’s kingdom as Lord Buddha, post enlightenment.


The Annual Flower Show Held in Nuwara Eliya
Victoria Park in Nuwara Eliya serves venue to the grandest flower show of the year. It is organized by the Municipal Council of Nuwara-Eliya and this competition tries to encourage flower growers in the area.

Sinhala & Tamil New Year
Sinhala & Tamil Nadu New Year Festival commemorates Aluth Avurudda, which marks the end of agricultural harvest period. This New Year Festival lasts for seven days and many religious ceremonies take place during that time.


Vesak Full Moon Poya
Celebrated by Buddhists all over the world, Vesak represents the Birth, Enlightenment and Parinibbana of Lord Buddha. It is a religious as well as a cultural festival in Sri Lanka. Buddhists commemorate the important events that took place in the life of Lord Buddha on this Vesak Full Moon Poya Day.


Hikkaduwa Beach Festival
The 5-day event is ideal for anyone looking for an unforgettable experience in Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka. This amazing festival features both local and international professional DJ’s, famous musicians and world class dancers.


Kandy Esala Perahera
One of the oldest and grandest of all Buddhist festivals in Kandy and Sri Lanka, it featuring dancers, jugglers, musicians, fireball acrobats, and lavishly decorated elephants. It believed to commemorate the first teaching given by the Buddha after he attained enlightenment.
Kataragama Perahera
The beautiful island country of Sri Lanka is home to several fairs and festivals, due to its wide spectrum of religious group and religions. Although less famous outside Sri Lanka, the Kataragama festival lasts up to 14 days and culminating with the Maha Perahera at the July full moon.


Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr (Eid al-Fitr) often abbreviated to Eid, is a three-day Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). Colombo Grand Mosque sees a range of celebrations as friends, family and the entire Muslim community come together.


Deepavali is also known as Diwali in both India and Sri Lanka. Termed as the Festival of Lights, Deepavali is mostly celebrated by the Sri Lankan Tamils. Amid an array of rituals, people light small and big lamps to banish evil from their houses.

IL Poya Day
IL Full Moon Poya Day was the receipt of permission (Niyatha Vivarana) by Bodhisatra Maitriya to be the next Enlightened One or the Future Buddha Maitriya. Siriwaddana had entered the Buddhist Order as Bhikku Maitriya.


Christmas Celebration
Christmas in Sri Lanka is celebrated in the true Lankan style. The first sign of Christmas celebrations in Sri Lanka dates back to many centuries, when Sri Lanka (Ceylon) was ruled by Portuguese from 1505 to 1650 AD, followed by the Dutch and the British who ruled Sri Lanka from 1658 to 1796 and 1815 to 1948, respectively.

Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) Hiking Season
Adam’s Peak, also known as the Sri Pada, is an important pilgrimage site in Sri Lanka. According to Buddhists, the impression on the summit is the footprint of Lord Buddha himself. It takes around 5 hours to reach the peak by foot and devotees of various religions climb the mountain to seek blessings.

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