Up Coming Events Sri Lanka
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Adam’s peak Pilgrimage Season (December to May)
Located about 122KM due east from Colombo is the scared mountain Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak). It is situated in the southern reaches of the central highland, and adjacent to extensive wildlife reserves. With no other comparable mountains nearby, Sri Pada (‘’Sacred Footprint’’) rises prominently above the surrounding area. Soaring to a height of 2,234 meters above sea level.
It’s easily Sri Lanka most revered site, considered scared not only by Buddhists, but also by Christians, Muslims and Hindus. At the top of the mountain is the slab of rock with the large indentation believed to be Buddha’s footprint. Which he left legendary third visit to the island.
Centuries later, Christians & Muslims develops the belife that this indentation was the footprint of Adam, Thus, Sri Pada (Sacred Footprint) is commonly known as Adam’s peak. The Hindus, according to the own belief, revere the spot as footprint of Shiva.
The climbing season is between December & May, as the heavy rains & strong winds during the other part of the year make the ascent difficult & very risky. Climbing usually set off in the night to take advantage of the cool temperatures. Time their ascent to reach the summit before daybreak. The trek starts off in a gradual fashion but becomes more & more strenuous as the climb becomes an almost continuous journey of going up steep but broad steps.
Vesak Festival (May 7th 2015)
Vesak is considered as both a religious and cultural festival in Sri Lanka. It is celebrated on the day of the full moon in May. Vesak Day is one of the biggest days of the year in the Buddhist calendar and is celebrated by Buddhists all over the world. Buddhists commemorate the important events that took place in the life of Lord Buddha on this Vesak Full Moon Poya Day. First comes the birth of Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini in Nepal which took place under the arbor of Sat trees where queen Mahamaya gave birth to him. The second event was Siddharta Gautam’s supreme attainment as the Buddha, the Enlightened One. The third event was Lord Buddha’s Parinibbana over 2500 years ago at Kusinagar.
Apart from Sri Lanka, many Asian countries including India, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and Nepal celebrate Vesak. Many religious activities are organized during this period in Sri Lanka such as Sil campaigns, Bodhi Poojas, Dansalas (Freely giving foods, coffee, tea from people), Vesak devotional songs (Bakthi Gee), pandols (thoran) and lanterns.
Many temples are filled with Atasil devotees and pilgrims all over Sri Lanka to mark this great event. In temples Buddhists worship, offer flowers, light lamps and burn incense. These traditional observances, in essence, have their value in satisfying the religious and emotional needs of the people. As it is mainly a religious event, for devout Buddhists, religious observances form the main activities of the festival.They generally wear white dress and go to the temple and participate in the traditional ceremonies there.
Many of them spend the whole day in the temple and reaffirm their determination to follow the teaching of Buddha.
Poson Festival (June 2nd 2015)
Twelve million Buddhists in Sri Lanka celebrated the Poson festival on the full moon day of June 12, 2014. Despite the torrential rains, cities and temples were brimming over with an influx of visitors and pilgrims of all ages. Some of the cities had organized Pandols and lamps depicting the story of Poson and the arrival of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Pandols tell Buddhist stories by using photo banners, lighting and music. Jataka stories are drawn on large boards mounted on structures that can be as high as 30 feet. Houses sparkled with brightly colored coconut oil lamps, and decorations that turned neighborhoods into lively places that opened doors to visitors. Numerous white clad pilgrims worshipped at temples, observing the Ten Precepts and helping out in community activities.
Poson is a significant annual event in the Sri Lankan Buddhist calendar which consecrates the arrival of Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE during the reign of King Devanam Piyatissa. Following his conversion to Buddhism, Emperor Ashoka of India took a great interest in spreading Buddhism to neighboring countries. Ashoka sent emissaries bearing the dhamma’s message to nine countries. Consequently, it is said that Mihindu, the enlightened monk who was the son of the emperor Asoka, arrived in Sri Lanka with seven companions bringing the message of Buddhism and its noble eight fold path, to be delivered to the King of Sri Lanka. It is said that on this day, following an elaborate discussion with Mihindu, the King of Sri Lanka converted to Buddhism and made it the official religion of the island.
Kandy Perahera (July- August)
There are special religious programs conducted in the Dalada Maligawa on every Full Moon Poya day where large numbers participate. Apart from these daily, weekly and monthly ceremonies, there are four major ceremonies held every year.Of these the most important is the Esala Mangallaya. Esala, according to the Sinhalese Calendar, is the month of July/ August This is the months in which Kandy gets into a festive mood. Shop-keepers and hoteliers pile up their stock to cater to the massive crowds that throng the city. Maligawa and its premises are gaily decorated and are illuminated with strings of lights, including the esplanade.
These lights burn throughout the night. A few days before the EsalaPerahera, A Kapa, a sapling from a tree that sheds milky juice is erected in each of the four Devales. On the 5th day, The Kumbal Perahera begins and goes on for 10 consecutive nights when the sacred relic casket is taken round the streets of Kandy accompanied by exotically costumed dancers and drummers.
The most colorful Perahera is last Randoli Perahera which falls on the Esala Full Moon Poya day. On this day, at the auspicious time the Perahera starts. The Diyawadana Nilame in full traditional Kandyan dress will enter the inner chamber to receive the Perahera Karanduwa containing the Buddha Relics.
Katharagama Perahera & Fire Walking Festival (July - August)
The Kataragama Perehera is held in the months of July/August and is a festival that coincides with the new Moon in the Esala month. This two-week Perahera attracts thousands - Hindus and Buddhists -, many of who make the pilgrimage on foot from as far afield as Jaffna in Sri Lanka’s northern peninsula.
Katharagama’s main temple of the Maha Devala is dedicated to the Hindu God of War, Skanda. Said to have six heads, twelve arms, twenty names and-two wives, Skanda is also ardently worshipped by Buddhists as the Katharagama Deviyo. Alongside are shrines dedicated to the deities Ganesha, Vishnu, to the goddesses Kali and Pattini and to Katharagama’s two consorts Valli Amman and Thevani Amman.
The dancing troupes representing Udarata, Pahatarata and Sabaragamuwa the main local three traditional dancing groups - display their talents at the Kataragama maha perahera. Over 50 traditional dancing groups will perform at the final day of the perahera, Basnayaka Nilame Rajapaksa said. Thousands of Hindu devotees make their way to Kataragama from the North and the Eastern provinces through the Yala Sanctuary which is called Pada Yatra. This year over 30,000 devotees will traverse throng the thick jungle to Kataragama. The Army and several Non-governmental Organizations attend to the needs of devotees.
Kite Festival (July)