Sri Lanka Cultural Celebrations
Cultural Festivals of SriLanka

04 Sri Lankan Cultural Celebrations You Must Not Miss

A fusion of people, ardent faiths, light and colour, touched with a strong belief in something mystical make four of Sri Lanka’s biggest cultural events a highlight of any tour. Travel deeper through an island steeped in 2000 years of tradition!

Festivals in Sri Lanka


This New Year festival is the grandest celebration on the island with almost each person in the country celebrating, irrespective of ethnic and religious differences. Marking the journey of the sun from Pisces to Aries and the end of the harvest season, Sri Lankans make it a point to fill the day with religious observances, traditional activities (done at auspicious or nekath times) and rural village communities come alive to with traditional games. The celebration also calls for some delicious and culturally significant food item such as milk rice, kevum and kokis. Keeping to our ethos of “Inner You. Outdoor Sri Lanka” Ayu In the Wild gives our guests one of the best local community interactions to celebrate Avurudu with rural locals in their homes.

Sri Lankan festivals

Traditional Food in Sri Lanka served during the New Year celebration

When: Usually celebrated from the 13th – 15th April annually.


Vesak is a festival brimming with fervent faith, lights and color. It commemorates the threefold Buddhist celebration of the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Lord Buddha. With soothing Buddhist chanting reverberating from every corner of the island it’s a sight to behold Buddhists clad in white offering flowers at temples, streets beautifully illuminated with intricately decorated lanterns and the massive “wesak thoran” (pandols) that are structures erected to depict traditional stories of the Buddha and his followers. A highlight are the many “dansal” (little pop up stalls) along the main roads where Sri Lankans gain merit by offering free food to passersby!

When: Usually falls during the 2nd week of May annually.

Temples and Wesak Sri Lanka


The rhythm of drums! The sinewy art of dance! The strains of music! A burst of magnificent culture! With caparisoned elephants swaying to the rhythm of the drummers and encircled by hundreds of dancers paving the way for the elegant lead Tusker carrying the sacred Tooth of the Buddha, starting and ending at the divine Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy a World Heritage Site. What a spectacle the annual Dalada or Kandy Perahera is for first time spectators. A wonderful experience on a trip to Sri Lanka during the Summer months of July or August.  Reserve vantage viewing points and accommodation with Ayu in the Wild.

When: Held in July or August for 10 days in Kandy


Annual Esala Dalada Perahera, Kandy

Caparisoned Elephants at the Kandy Perahera carrying the sacred tooth relic

Annual Kandy Perahera

Kandy Temple of the tooth


The two processions are about a month apart from each other and are usually held in Colombo during the night. Both events are cultural pageants of Colombo and commemorate significant religious and cultural milestones in Sri Lanka’s history. The collaboration of art, devotion, color and spirit is absolutely resplendent. A sight to behold, if you are travelling with kids.

Duruthu/ Navam Perahera

Fire Limbo Dancers

Time: Duruthu – January / Navam – February


Sri Lanka is home to a potpourri of races. A vibrant mix of culture, traditions and customs play a significant role among all Sri Lankans and give life to some vibrant festivals filled with local talent. Talk to Ayu in the Wild about tours that include the best seats to the biggest cultural celebrations in Sri Lanka, you will never forget.


Join us on an adventure to discover these cultural celebrations in Sri Lanka where we help connect the “Inner you to Outdoor Sri Lanka”. Email: or whatsapp us on +94 777 248 1100

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