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Updated by Melly Brooke on Jul 24, 2016
Headline for Sri Lankan Events to go for – From Cultural Celebrations to International Events
Melly Brooke Melly Brooke
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Sri Lankan Events to go for – From Cultural Celebrations to International Events

Sri Lanka hosts quite a few festivals and events each year. Visitors can choose to enjoy religious, cultural as well as massive parties depending on the time of their visit to the lovely little island.



The Vesak festival is the most important religious festival in the island. It is celebrated all over the island by all Buddhists and result in a beautiful display of colourful paper lanterns, fairy lights and retellings of Jataka kathas (tales from Lord Buddha's previous lives). Held on the full moon day and the following day of May, Vesak is definitely a great time to visit the island. If you plan to stay in a hotel in Wadduwa Sri Lanka, you will have an excellent opportunity to travel to Colombo easily and to enjoy amazing light shows and paper lantern creations. The locals take to the streets on the full moon night and walk about, watching the beautiful lights and enjoying the free food offerings at just about every street corner. The Blue Water Wadduwa is an excellent accommodation choice if you wish to explore the island during Vesak time.


Sinhala and Hindu New Year

This is the most important cultural festival in Sri Lanka. Held in the middle of April, the festival celebrates ancient traditions, family bonds and of course, a feast of delicious Sri Lankan food. You will find the streets busy with shoppers, up to a few weeks before the festival. The cuckoo bird's song is often taken as a sign of the Sinhala and Hindu New Year drawing close. The locals celebrate it by wearing new clothes in colours recommended by astrologists and sit down for a meal with their family at an auspicious time. The meal is enjoyed by families all over the island at the exact same time. Locals also host Avurudu festivals where traditional New Year games are played by the entire family.


Kandy Perahera

Held in the month of August, the Esala Perahera in Kandy is one of the biggest festivals in Sri Lanka and a major draw for travellers from all over the world. This is a religious festival that is celebrated in honour of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the four guardian gods, Goddess Paththini, Kataragama, Vishnu and Natha. The festival starts from the devales of these gods which are located close to the Temple of the Tooth. The main purpose of the perahera is to ask the gods to offer rain to the island to allow the cultivation of crops. The ritual is performed by carrying the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha on elephant back through the streets of Kandy. The elephants are adorned with intricate lit up costumes and the entire procession is an explosion of colour. This is considered to be one of the most beautiful festivals in Asia.


The Hikkaduwa Beach Festival

If you are a party animal, then you need to arrive in time for the Hikkaduwa Beach Festival. This is a massive attraction in the lovely coastal town of Hikkaduwa and sees thousands of local and foreign partygoers every year. Started out as a rather small local gathering, the festival became so popular as to attract the attention and sponsorships from major Sri Lankan businesses. The festival always draws a huge crowd and features Internationally acclaimed DJs, world class dancers, famous local and international musicians and of course, enthusiastic party goers. The festival also draws famous culinary artists and plenty of entertainment not only for adults but also for kids. The Hikkaduwa Beach Festival is held for a few days and provide a range of interesting activities such as dancing, watersports, a market, fireworks, kite flying and so much more.


Galle Literary Festival

This is one for the book lovers out there! Held in January of every year, this is an international literary festival, held in the beautiful historic city of Galle. In the past few years, the festival gained a great deal of popularity and earned a reputation for being one of the biggest book festivals in the South Asian region. The festival attracts attendees such as internationally acclaimed writers, international literary professionals and book lovers from all over the world. The event is so popular and has such as high profile that major businesses flock to sponsor it every year. The festival was founded by Geoffrey Dobbs, an Australian hotelier in 2005. The festival hosts interesting events such as book readings, book signings, sales, writing workshops and seminars.