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Festival Holidays in Sri Lanka

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Of the many pleasant holidays Sri Lanka has to offer, none is more personal to the people of the island than one that includes a festival. Because Sri Lanka holds many pageants and festivals, you’ll find at least one in which to take part while you vacation there.

The Duruthua Perahera Festival celebrates a visit by Buddha to Sri Lanka. It is held each January at the town of Kelaniya. If your vacation brings to the area of Colombo at this time of year, you must go to Kelaniya for this festival. You’ll enjoy local drummers and a beautiful pageant. A wonderful example of the cultural side of this exotic country, the Duruthua Perahera Festival will surprise and inspire you.

Buddha is very important to Sri Lankans, and they celebrate his birthday as the holiday Vesak on the first full moon of May each year. This is one of the most important Buddhist festivals on the island, and it takes on a religious, Christmas-like air that is enjoyable for one and all. Devotees of Buddha gather in their temples to sing hymns and offer flowers or candles. Delicious feasts are part of the celebration, as well as gift-giving to those who are less fortunate on the island. It is indeed a giving festival.

But perhaps the most important festival in Sri Lanka is the Festival of the Sacred Tooth. This takes places in the city of Kandy and lasts for twelve days. There are parades, drum and dance performances, and lots of other types of entertainment. On the last day of the celebration, a tooth relic of Buddha is paraded through Kandy on the back of an elephant. This tooth was taken from the funeral pyre of Buddha after he died in the fifth century—BC! This festival takes place in late July or early August, depending upon when the full moon occurs.

Your travel Sri Lanka beckons you to take won’t be complete without witnessing at least one of the festivals in this joy-filled land.