Cultural Celebrations That Should Not Be Missed in Sri Lanka
The island of Sri Lanka offers a diverse fusion of colour, faiths, cuisine and so much more that make it a hidden paradise for travellers. Heavily steeped in religious sentiments, the island is known for its lively annual cultural events. In order to plan out your itinerary to coincide with some of these festivals, read our short guide on some of the more popular events.
The National New Year
In Sri Lanka festivities actually begin with the National New Year. It?s the biggest celebration that the island indulges in and touches every corner of the country. The festivities stem from harvesting times and is heavily steeped in astrological timings. The new year marks the movement of the sun from the Pisces astrological sign to the Aries sign. In rural villages, communities come together for games and meals and it is especially an important time for families. Those who work in the cities invariably always go back to the villages for the New Year. Religious activities, ?partaking of meals and even setting out for work after the holiday is dictated to by ?naketh? times or astrologically favourable times. It is recommended that tourists indulge in some sweetmeats and different types of dishes which are made specifically during this time.
Straight after Avurudu or New Year, the country celebrates the most beautiful cultural celebration in the island which is Vesak. The whole country is literally lit up with beautiful paper lanterns and Pandols that tell the story of Vesak, quintessentially the birth, enlightenment and the death of the Buddha. The lanterns serve as a reminder of his enlightenment and it is generally a period where kind deeds are carried out. During the ancient times of the Kings, it was usually during Vesak that pilgrimages were made to the ancient capitals. As such food and drink were offered freely to those weary travellers who arrived on pilgrimage from long distances. This practice is still observed and tourists will find numerous free food stalls or Dhansals being held. Dhansals are considered as meritorious acts that will benefit those who host them.
The Kandy Perahera is another cultural festival not to be missed. It is held each year from the end of July to August. With dressed up elephants in colourful costumes, traditional dancers and drummers take to the streets in Kandy. The Perahera stems from ancient traditions and offers a chance for local folk to see the sacred casket which bears the tooth relic of the Buddha. ?The casket is taken out only once a year and is paraded on the back of a majestic tusker that is reared at the temple. The pageant begins from the temple and goes around the city of Kandy. The Kandy Dalada Temple was once the Palace of the last Sinhalese King, Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe, and has a museum of its own with some intriguing exhibits. If you happen to spend a day in Kandy for the Perahera, make sure to pay a visit.
Visit : Sri Dalada Maligawa – Kandy
Stay Here : 4 Bedroom Colonial Villa with Pool in Kandy