Sri Lanka » Fairs and Festivals in Sri Lanka in 2020

Fairs and Festivals in Sri Lanka in 2020

by swantour
Sri Lanka Festivals

Sri Lanka is home to four main religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and also Christianity. This means there is a lot more public holidays every year – 25 actually! Several of these holidays are festivals that can be appreciated by one & all. With so many occasions as well as festivals in Sri Lanka in 2020, we are here to assist you to whittle down your bucket list, with our handpicked selection of the best points to do across the country.

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So, given here are 9 such wonderful festivals & fairs in Sri Lanka that you must visit on your next get away.

Festivals in Sri Lanka

Here is list of fairs and festivals in Sri Lanka in 2020

1. Vesak Poya – Festival of lights (Buddhist)

Vesak Poya festival in Sri Lanka
Vesak Poya festival in Sri Lanka

Vesak is the Poya festival that drops on the moon of the month of March. According to the Buddhist moon calendar, it’s the first moon of the New Year. Vesak Poya is a triple festival of Buddha. It is on this particular day that Buddha was born, located enlightenment, after that many years later on died. The Vesak festival takes over the city and the most of the island. Every home and also place of business hangs white paper lanterns that are lit up at night. Areas like Baudaloka Mawata and Biera Lake are specially decorated.


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When: Full moon of May
Where: Throughout the island, however festivals in Colombo are on a grand scale

2. Poson Festival


Poson Poya (June) celebrates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. The day is celebrated at temples around the island, but the biggest festivals go to Mihintale, where the Buddhist emissary Mahinda converted King Devanampiya in 247 BC, developing Buddhism as the national faith of the Sinhalese.

When: on the full moon day of June
Where: Mihintale and Anuradhapura

3. Sinhala and Tamil New Year

Sinhala and tamil new year festival in sri lanka
Sinhala and tamil new year festival in sri lanka

Being a significant anniversary to celebrate the traditional New Year, Sinhala and Tamil New Year is celebrated by not only the Buddhists and Hindus alike, yet by many Sri Lankans with much pomp and excitement. The festival generally falls on the 13th or the 14th of April every year and also notes the end of the harvest season and spring. The whole island will certainly be permeated with a joyful atmosphere as peoples get ready for the upcoming events by cleaning decorating houses, making traditional dishes and sweets, etc.

Suggested Read:- Ultimate Travel Guide for Indians Visiting Sri Lanka

When: April
Where: island-wide.

4. Kataragama Esala Festival

Explore Kataragama Esala
Explore Kataragama Esala

One of the most significant Hindu festivals in Sri Lanka, it brings in countless devotees from throughout the island to the holy town of Kataragama in southerly Sri Lanka over a two-week period. Peoples from all major faiths look for divine assistance and penance from the deity by delighting in rituals like skin-piercing as well as acts of self-mutilation.

When: July or August
Where: Kataragama town in Southern Sri Lanka

5. Maha Shivarathri Festival of Shiva

Maha Shivarathri in Sri lnaka
Maha Shivarathri in Sri Lanka

Maha Shivarathri is the celebration of the Hindu god Shiva. Festivities take place in June in the Hindu Shiva temples around the island. Devotees take a filtration bath at dawn and also fast all the time. A lot of them participate in mediation rituals with the help of the Panchakshara mantra “Om Nama Shivaya”. Shiva statuaries are also bathed in milk as well as honey as well as covered in red vermillion to represent purification of the soul.

When: March
Where: Throughout the island

6. Deepavali/ Diwali (Hindu)

Explore Deepavali Festival in Sri Lanka
Explore Deepavali Festival in Sri Lanka

Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights; it is the celebration of Lord Rama’s loss of Ravana, representing the loss of light over darkness. Houses will certainly be embellished with little clay lamps and structures as well as roads are brightened in festival. In Western calendars, it takes place usually in October or November.

When: Sunday, 27 October

7. Galle Literary Festival

Galle Literature Festival will certainly be just one of the ultimate events in Sri Lanka in 2020. Drawing together both Asian as well as Western winters, this yearly literary fest is a five-day spectacular celebrating the magic of the written word. An edge style occasion, Galle Literature Festival has actually been competing over one decade, using an intimate ambience where reading lovers can meet worldwide writers, talk about much-loved publications as well as discover new works from noted as well as fledgling writers.

When: 16 Jan 2020 – 20 Jan 2020 
Location: Galle Dutch Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka

8. Independence Day

Sri Lanka celebrates its freedom from Colonial policy in absolutely spectacular fashion, with a yearly procession that takes place across the island. Most definitely among the most effective household occasion in Sri Lanka, this special event of freedom takes place most spectacularly in Colombo, where the country’s President delivers an essential televised speech to the Sri Lankan peoples. Yet regardless of where you go, you can witness the Freedom Day festivals, with numerous flag-hoisting ceremonies, military parades, canon fire shows, firework displays and also cultural performances taking place across the country.

Address: Various, including Galle Face Green, 56 Galle Key Rd, Colombo
When: Monday 4 February 2020

9. Atman Festival

Atman festival is a tribal festival that originates from an international organization with the purpose of developing a new musical measurement within the tropical paradise known as Sri Lanka, alongside focused efforts on charity help and also eco-sustainable projects that improve livelihoods.

A whole week of art, music and also performances include spirits from throughout the world that share a distinct experience bringing together the pleasures in discovering a new, different reality.

Address: Galle road 300, Colombo
Dates: Wednesday 9 January to Monday 14 January 2020

Sri Lankan Festivals Month by Month

Sri Lanka having a history as long as many ancient civilizations, positioning in the crossroad of the East and also the West, as well as being a modern society, celebrates a wide variety of festivals, ceremonies as well as events.


Duruthu Poya – Marks the 1st of Lord Buddha’s 3 visits through to Sri Lanka.

Thai Pongol – A Hindu festival that honours Surya (the sun god), Indra (bringer of rains) and the cow. It is celebrated in temples by food preparation first from the brand-new harvest in milk, in a special pot.

Suggested Read:- Visit What to do in Sri Lanka in 7 days


Independence Day – Celebrates the independence acquired in 1948 on 4th of February. There are many celebrations happening around the country on this special holiday.

Navam Perahera: Is a Perahera organized by the Gangaramaya Holy Place in Colombo. This is a very vivid as well as vibrant pageant where dazzlingly dressed elephants as well as professional dancers parade the streets of Colombo.


Medin Poya – marks Lord Buddha’s first browse through to his father’s place after his enlightenment.


Bak Poya – celebrates Lord Buddha’s second visit to Sri Lanka.

Avurudu (Sinhala and Tamil New Year): Is a festival celebrated by both Sinhalese as well as Tamils in Sri Lanka. This celebrates the Sunlight God’s passage from “Pisces” to “Aries” and also is likewise a harvest thanksgiving celebration. Lots of games and activities are arranged all over Sri Lanka during this period.


Full Moon Vesak Poya Day: Memorializes the birth, knowledge as well as death of the Lord Buddha.


Full Moon Poya Day: Commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by “Arahath Mahinda” who is the son of the great “King Ashoka”. During this time lots of religious tasks are arranged around Sri Lanka and also the streets are decorated with stunning lights and pandals.


Kataragama Festival: Elephants in bright colors, fire dancers, drummers etc. do at the festival. Fans that have made pledges reveal their commitment to the Gods of the Holy place by rolling on warm sand, strolling on coals after fasting as well as bathing in the Menik Ganga River and some puncture their flesh and swing from sharp hooks. The festival ends the following day with the water-cutting event to request for rain.


Esala Perahera: Is one of one of the most glamorous cultural pageants on the world. The Perahera is there for 10 consecutive evenings. The first six nights are known as Kumbal Perahera and the other 4 evenings as Randoli Perahera, with the final evening having about 100 parading elephants adorned in elegant costumes. This event is arranged to enable explorers to pay homage to the “Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha”.

Nikini Poya – marks the resort of the Bhikkhus following Lord Buddha’s death and also is a period of fasting and also retreat for monks.

Vel Festival: Is a religious celebration of Hindus, held in Colombo. This is the procession where the god of war brings his Vel (trident tool) from the Muthuvinayagam Swami Kovil in Sea Street, Pettah to Kathiresan in Bambalapitiya or Wellawatta. The procession happens during the day.


Binara Poya – celebrates Lord Buddha’s journey to paradise.


Deepavali – is the Hindu Event of Light (equivalent to the Indian Diwali), which celebrates the homecoming of Rama, the hero of the fantastic Hindu epic the Ramayana.


IL Poya – celebrates Lord Buddha’s ordination of 60 devotees.


Sri Pada Pilgrimage (Adam’s Peak): The pilgrimage of Adam’s Top, a national as well as unmissable event in Sri Lanka. Along with being a popular tourist trekking for its scenic views of the surrounding area, it is Sri Lanka’s largest religious expedition. It begins on the full moon of December until the moon of April.

For more Information on Sri Lanka festivals and holiday packages contact Swan Tours or call 011 23415601.

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