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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for 5 Festivals Not to Miss in Sri Lanka - A Glimpse into Local Culture and Traditions of the Teardrop Island
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Festivals Not to Miss in Sri Lanka - A Glimpse into Local Culture and Traditions of the Teardrop Island

The drop of paradise in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has so much to offer in terms of serene nature, exciting adventures, breathtaking sights and, of course, fascinating cultural experiences. The vibrant festivals that take place throughout the year are sure to offer you a glimpse into local culture.


The Sinhala and Tamil New Year - the dawn of the traditional Lunar year

As the sun moves from Pisces to Aries, the dawn of a new year is upon the citizens of the island nation of Sri Lanka. Come the 13th and 14th of April every year, the joy of the new year is in the air — youth immersed in exciting folk games, skies taken over by vibrant fireworks, traditional sweets galore in households across the nation — there could be no happier time in the South Asian nation. Although the Sinhala and Tamil New Year is traditionally celebrated by the Sinhalese and Tamils of the country, it is a celebration that the entire country looks forward to, irrespective of race, religion or culture.


Vesak Poya - commemoration of Buddha's birth, attainment of enlightenment and passing into nirvana

In the Buddhist-majority nation of Sri Lanka, Vesak Poya is the most sacred and revered festival of all. It is the commemoration of the Lord Buddha's birth, attainment of enlightenment and passing into nirvana. The full moon day in the month of May is when the religious celebration comes to life, where countless multi-coloured lights and lanterns brighten up the streets and generous devotees hand out food and drinks to passers-by and the less fortunate, celebrating in the true spirit of Vesak.


Kandy Esala Perahera - the grand procession of the Sacred Tooth Relic

High away in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, the picturesque cultural capital that is the charming city of Kandy plays host to the world-renowned Kandy Esala Perahera. It is the Indian Ocean island nation's most vibrant event, where the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha himself, housed in the sanctum of the Temple of the Tooth Relic, is processioned through the streets of Kandy in grand style. Not just people across the country but also tourists from all over the world flock to the city of Kandy to experience the remarkable spectacle, where the highlight is the hundreds of colourfully dressed elephants.


Thai Pongal - age-old multi-day harvest festivals of the Hindus

Mid-January every year, as the sun begins its six-month journey northbound, Tamils all over Sri Lanka celebrate their most revered cultural festival, which dates back over a whopping 1,000 years. It is an age-old, multi-day harvest festival observed honouring the god of the sun, "Surya", in the hope of a prosperous harvesting season ahead.


Christmas - the most remotely authentic yet incredibly delightful

Christmas may be the least Sri Lankan thing when it comes to seasonal events and festivals, yet it is an incredibly delightful time in this minuscule island nation, as any events and festivals blog or related media source may have it. Come, experience how Sri Lankans add their own twist to the globally celebrated festival.