Sri Lanka Festivals

Esala Perahera Festival in Sri Lanka

Esala Perahera Festival in Sri Lanka (photo by Geringer Global Travel, India tour operator).

The festivals of Sri Lanka—that history-rich island at the foot of India—are some of the most fascinating in all of Asia. Join Geringer Global Travel as we delve into these cultural celebrations that showcase the spiritual and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

Aluth Sahal Mangallaya (New Rice Festival)
The Aluth Sahal Mangalle, or New Rice Festival, is a celebration of the first batch of rice in the harvest season. Every January, the festival takes place at the Temple of the Tooth, when a traditional procession takes place from the palace to the sacred tooth relic. The most important new rice festival that happens afterwards is the Aluth Sahal Mangalle at the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura.

The National Day (Independence Day)
Sri Lanka’s Independence Day, celebrated on February 4th, commemorates the country’s independence from British rule on that day in 1948. Though celebrated all over the country, the main celebration takes place in Colombo, where the president raises the national flag and delivers a televised speech. There are also dances, songs and performances that showcase national unity and culture.

Esala Perahera (Religious – Buddhist)
One of the most impressive religious festivals in Asia, Esala Perahera (the festival of the tooth) takes place in July or August in Kandy. This Buddhist festival has become a unique symbol of Sri Lanka: in addition to festive music and festooned elephants, there are fire-dances, jugglers and many other cultural performances.

Diwali (Religious – Hindu)
Diwali is a festival of light celebrating the triumph of good over evil. Diwali takes place in October or November depending upon the year. In this most important of Hindu festivals, small clay lamps are lit and kept on during the night in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. In addition, firecrackers are set off because it is believed that it drives away evil spirits.

Enrich your tour in Sri Lanka—and immerse yourself in the local culture—by experiencing an authentic local festival. Depending on when you plan to travel, we can customize your Sri Lanka itinerary to include a fair, festival or cultural celebration.

Contact Geringer Global Travel at 877-255-7438 or email us at to discuss how we can create a personalized Sri Lanka tour for you.