Sri Lanka

Event & Festivals

events

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January

  • Duruthu Perahera
    events

    This important Buddhist event celebrates the day the Buddha made a visit to Sri Lanka. Colombo is the best place to witness the rituals at the Buddhist temples connected with this significant day.

  • Thai Pongal
    events

    Sri Lanka's traditional harvest festival is a major event during January. Fireworks, singing and dancing go on all through the night as locals celebrate a good harvest.

February

  • National Day
    events

    Sri Lanka celebrates its independence with festivities across the country. Parades, national games and traditional dances are all major parts of the event, which is observed in every city on the island.

  • Navam Perahera
    events

    More excitement is unveiled on the streets of Colombo in February with the Navam Perehara that takes place on full-moon day. A treat for children and adults alike, this perehara show cases all the traditional dance forms including mask dancers, Kandyan and Kavadi dancers, drummers and glittering elephants. A number of elephants from various parts of the country make the long journey to Colombo along with their mahouts for this event.

March

  • Sri Lankan Balloon Festival
    events

    since its inauguration in 2003, this fun and colourful festival has become one of the island's most popular events. Up to 100 participants from around the world come here to fly hot-air balloons around Colombo.

  • "Big" matches
    events

    School cricket in Sri Lanka is very popular and many of the annual `big' matches are held in March of these the annual Royal Thomian cricket match is much anticipated and is good fun for both players and spectators.

April

  • Sinhala & Tamil New Year Festival
    events

    The Sinhalese and Tamil cultures celebrate their New Year in April with elephant races, coconut games and other fun activities like pillow fights. It's a great time to visit the northern regions, when peace pervades this otherwise tense part of Sri Lanka.

May

  • Vesak Festival
    events

    This very important Buddhist holiday honours the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. Held on the full moon, the entire island lights up at night with bamboo lanterns and colourful light displays that tell tales of the Buddha's life.

  • Surfing period in Arugam Bay
    events

    Listed as one of ten top surf spots in the world, Arugam Bay is a popular youthful haunt for surfers and holiday makers. The turquoise seas of the coast off Trincomalee in the East are also perfect at this time for snorkelling as well as whale and dolphin spotting excursions.

June

  • Poson Festival
    events

    This major Buddhist celebration falls on the full moon of June. Devotees flock to temples in huge droves to make merit and take part in ancient rituals. This festival is one of the best times to witness Sri Lankan Buddhism in action.

  • Sloth Bear Season in Yala and Wasgomuva
    events

    The Sloth Bear, also found in the subcontinent, is one of the most elusive 'big game' in Sri Lanka. Although found in most National Parks, Yala would be the best place to spot the Sloth Bear with Wasgomuwa National Park also being popular. The Sloth bear is best seen during the months of June & July when its favorite fruit the `Palu' is in season.

July

  • Kataragama Festival
    events

    During full-moon in July, the sacred jungle shrine of Kataragama becomes even more intriguing and full of sound and colour when the Esala Perehara is held for two weeks in honour of God Skandha, the warrior god of Kataragama.

  • Turtle watching in Rekuwa
    events

    Globally, all seven species of marine turtles are endangered. Of these, five species – the Hawksbill, Leatherback, Kemp's Ridley, Olive Ridley, and Greenback all come ashore to nest in Sri Lanka. These marine turtles are best observed on the coast of Rakuwa located in the Deep South near Tangalle. This strip of beach is a traditional nesting site for marine turtles and is protected by Sri Lanka's Wildlife Department offices that stays vigil all night on Rekuwa beach to protect the turtle eggs from poaches and other animals.

August

  • Esala Perehara in Kandy
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    In August each year, the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, encased in a golden casket, is taken in procession, on the back of the temple elephant along the streets of Kandy for all to see. This ritual, which has been taking place for centuries, is an experience of a lifetime. Scores of elephants all dressed in their finery, Kandyan chiefs in their traditional royal attire, thousands of dancers, drummers, flag bearers, and Buddhist monks, all walk in procession in honour of Lord Buddha.

  • Elephant Gathering in Minneriya National Park
    events

    During the dry season from July to October, water becomes scares in the north central province and wild elephants from all around migrate to Minneriya National Park's large Minneriya reservoir. Coined as 'The Gathering', herds of over 300 elephants can be seen by the Minneriya water tank.

September

  • Navarathri Festival
    events

    The Navarathri Festival, which means to say 'Nine Nights Festival', is a ten-day Hindu celebration held in honour of Goddess Durga. Whilst the blessings and religious tasks are held at temple such as that of VeeraPathirakaali Amman Temple, at home, a doll exhibition is made in Hindu households, where the women of each household visit bearing gifts, sweets, and savoury items.

October

  • Deepavali
    events

    The Diwali festival of lights is celebrated with great passion in Sri Lanka. Lamps are placed outside every Hindu house and shop in the country during this time, giving the island a lovely glow after dark. Major family celebrations are the focus of this important Hindu day

November

  • Kalpitiya - Whale and Dolphin spotting
    events

    With the beginning of the season, the North West coastal town of Kalpitiya is a must for Whale and Dolphin spotting. Sightings of huge pods of upto two thousand Spinner Dolphins have been reported during the season. These Dolphins often swim along side the boats and frolic in the seas - a thrilling site for children and adults alike. Alankuda Beach, a popular eco-resort, is well equipped with safety vests and boats to take guests out to sea.

December

  • Adam's Peak Festival
    events

    Adam's Peak, or Sri Pada Mountain, is located in the heart of the island, and is also known as the Sacred Footprint of Sri Lanka. The Adam's Peak Festival begins in December, following the full moon (Uduwap Full Moon Poya Day), with hundreds and thousands of pilgrims regardless of their religious faith, making a pilgrimage to the top of the peak to pay their respects

  • Christmas Celebrations
    events

    Christmas celebrations in Sri Lanka begin with instilling a festive cheer in the population, from Christmas jingles and carols, and the decor across the cities, especially in Colombo as December approaches. On Christmas Eve, all churches of Catholic and Christian faith open their doors and welcome you in for midnight mass, whilst on Christmas Day many hotels and well known restaurants offer greats means of celebrations with Christmas parties, entertainment and much more.

events