The Calendar of Festivals

Sri Lankans cherish their holidays and love to off to celebrate a festival is a common excuse. There are four major religions and an even larger number of ethnicities making up a melting pot of warm and smiling people. Nothing to be wondered, Sri Lankans love and having more holidays and festivals than any other nation in the world. Here we are going to bring you the calendar of Sri Lankan festivals and celebrations.

Sri Lankan Sinhalese and Tamil New Year

The Sinhalese and Tamil new year in the month of April signs the beginning of a week of exciting cultural celebrations, uncontrolled culinary indulgence and a renaissance of traditional , cultural rituals.  Traditional games such as coconut rope swings, sounds of folk music and the sound of “Rabana” (a large oval shaped drum which four to 6 people can play at ones ) . Beating traditional drums, singing folks and pealing bells signal the auspicious times for every ritual while doing traditional Avurudu game (New year games) such as climbing a greasy pole, Kotta Pora (pillow fights), marathons, cycle races, kana mutti bideema ( breaking pots), bun eating contest and Ankeliya ( Tugging the horn).

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Playing “Rabana”- the drum
Kana Mutti Bideema- Breaking pots while blindfolded
Rope swing

The dining table of a Sinhalese family is filled by traditional food and sweets like, milk rice, chili paste, kawum (Traditional sweet), kokis, aluwa, mun kawum, athi rasa, undu walalu and banana. New Year is beginning with “Kiri ithiraweema”- Boiling milk and it signifies the prosperity and the good luck of the whole family. After boiling milk, when the right time comes, the father is the chief of the family, he feeds food to his wife and then kids. It presents the strong bond and the unity of the family.

In Hindu Homes, the dawn of the New Year is announced with “Maruthhu Neer”, boiling water with herbs, leaves, flowers, milk and saffron, then applied on the body before bathing.

Vesak Festival

Another most highlighted, important and colorful festival in Sri Lanka, a threefold celebration that commemorates Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. This days is mostly on full days of month of May. Homes, shops and most of buildings vie with each other to showcase unique and colorful decorations.  Intricately designed lanterns, brightly lit “Pandols”, different kind of Muppets which represents some stories of Buddha’s life and folk stories, Mobile floats with choirs singing Buddhist songs which are called “Bhakthi Geetha” travel the streets. Streets are full of thanksgiving booths which are organized by private people and temples, these booths offer food, drinks and snacks free to people who travel across the island to experience this unique tradition.

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Vesak Lanterns


Christians on the island prepare for Easter & Good Friday. Sri Lankan Easter has a nearly 300 years old history and take the stage with the most popular being enacted on the island of Duwa. Families and friends invite and warmly welcomed for Easter lunches.



One of most important Islamic celebration. Islamic celebrations are quite modest. Ramadan festival commemorates the first declaration of the Koran to Prophet Mohammad, the ++climax of 40 days of fasting. Ramadan ritual begins at Sunrise and ends at sunset. Islamic devotees gather mosques and do praying during the day. After the ritual, people invite their friends and families to join with them for lunches and dinners.

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