Culture & Heritage

Sri Lanka is a country where celebration and culture collide, in a multi-ethnic community of people enjoying many holidays. A marriage of historical sages with cultural pageantry is born into colorful festivals of a diverse ethnic community; Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christians. There are a number of relegio-cultural pageantries with fascinating line up of traditional dancers, drummers, whip-crackers, acrobats and enrobed elephants, among them the world famous pageant is the ‘Esala Perahera’ of the Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy.

The April 13-14 every year is the Sri Lankan New Year celebrated by the Sinhala Buddhist and Tamil Hindus of Sri Lanka at specific auspicious times to commemorate harvest and thanksgiving to Mother Nature. It also brings many traditional activities, a fire is lit, new cloths are worn, money is exchanged as gifts, the elders of the house hold or in the village apply herbal oil specially made, on the head of each member and traditional games are played. It’s also time to taste a variety of traditional food and sweetmeat of Sri Lanka.

The cultural triangle in the center of the island holds a certain magic, with ruins from several ancient kingdoms, majestic tanks, hidden rock caves, and ancient sacred temples, revealing the fascinating and almost unbelievable ancient architecture, art, and engineering. Visit the 8th wonder of the world –Sigiriya Rock Fortress or linger at the Golden Temple of Dambulla-the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. A total of 8 UNESCO Heritage Sites are available in Sri Lanka.

Vesak Day –the commemorations of the birth, enlightenment, and Parinirvana of Lord Buddha celebrated in May, the harvest festival of Hindus ( Thai Pongal) or the light Festival (Deevali), or as per the Islamic lunar calendar the Muslims in Sri Lanka celebrate Milad Un Nabi, Ramadan and the Hajj Festival. In the month of August, the Kataragama fills up with devotees of all faiths for pujas which is a rare occasion of religious harmony.

The longest festival in Sri Lanka spanning over 25 days is the Nallur Festival in Jaffna. Vibrant chariot procession, drumming, dancing, and acts of self-mortification, held in honour of the war god Skanda is seen at the Hindu Temple.

The Red Mosque in Pettah-Colombo is one of the most beautiful mosques in the word.

The Red Mosque in Pettah-Colombo is one of the most beautiful mosques in the word.

Arts, literature, handcrafts are a prominent part of Sri Lankan creativity and Kala Pola is one annual art exhibition where one street in Colombo turned to an art gallery. The Jaffna Music Festival or the Galle Literary festival is an interesting event to share knowledge and to get inspired. The traditional ‘Laksha art’, Mask making, Beeralu spinning, batiks are among the prominent crafts in Sri Lanka.