Wesak full moon, the biggest ceremony in Sri Lanka

Everyone in the Buddhist world knows about this ceremony and this is the most appropriate time to talk about it. Sri Lanka is a multi-national, multicultural holiday destination with an important celebration every month.  But, this particular event is the far most important Buddhist religious celebration in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankans love it and everybody takes part in the event. The event takes place in the month of May on the full moon day. The ceremony is known on the island as Vesak ceremony. Vesak is a 2-day Buddhist festival, which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Buddha.  This ceremony is celebrated in most Buddhist countries around the world. Vesak can be described as the most colourful event in Sri Lanka.

No one really sure about how this ceremony began but it is certainly one of the most historical ceremonies on the island and now it is a strong tradition among the Buddhist community. Every street, road, house and every corner of the country is lighted and decorated with colourful decorations.

Lantern, Pandalas, lightings, oil lamps and many other items are used for the decorations. This massive ceremony is celebrated throughout the country but Colombo takes the centre of the whole ceremony. All busy streets are closed to traffic and the roads are flanked with beautiful decorations. Usually, one week is dedicated to the ceremony and people travel to Colombo to see the main celebration, from far away destinations in the country.

The temples around the country get a massive influx of devotees during the 2 days ceremony. People gather to the temple to observe Sil (mediation), Buddhist precepts and listening to Buddhist chanting. This ceremony shows the dedication of the Buddhist of Sri Lanka to the religion.

Most foreign travellers are surprised to see the massive and colourful decoration that can be seen during the Vesak ceremony.  

The government officially declares a period of one week for the celebration of Vesak. During this period there is no permission to sell alcohol throughout the country. The move is taken in order to encourage people to abstain from alcohol, which is one of the main five precepts for Buddhism.

Almsgiving is another popular method of celebrating Vesak ceremony in Sri Lanka. In parallel to Vesak decoration, a large number of people engages in almsgiving. It is very common to see t7487/90474he places that distribute food and drinks free of charge, during this week. Usually, almsgivings are organized with the donations of the people in the immediate area.

Sometimes other materials such as dry rat7ions are distributed among the people.   If you happen to spend your holiday in Sri Lanka during the month of May, you can’t afford to miss this beautiful celebration.   Colombo is the best place to see the Vesak celebration at its best. The streets are decorated with the participation of people.

The exhibits are evaluated during the ceremony and the best decorations are given price gifts. Bauddhaloka Vesak Kalapaya and Gangarama Vesak Kalapaya are the leading decoration areas with many years of experience of the organizers.

Bauddhaloka Vesak Zone and Buddha Rashmi Pooja

Every year Bauddhaloka Mawatha Colombo 7 will be illuminated like a burning candle for 1 week during the annual event of Vesak festival. The number of spectators who visit even exceeds many thousands every year. There is a large number of exhibits can be seen at the Bauddhaloka Vesak Zone and the number of exhibitors is increasing on a yearly basis.

Bauddhaloka Vesak Zone is one of the oldest and most important events in Colombo, which is organized to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Buddha. The event is organized by the Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC). Bauddhaloka Vesak Zone was started in 2000 under the guidance of Dr. (Mrs.) Milina Sumathipala. A designated area of the Bauddhaloka Vesak Zone is starting in Borella junction and ends in Thunmulla Junction.

There are many places in Colombo make arrangements for the Vesak celebration, such as “Buddha Rashmi Pooj” which is organized by the Gangarama temple and the presidential secretariat.

Other than a large number of creative exhibits from the participants of this annual event there will be many activities throughout the celebration of Vesak. Mediation campaigns, Bakthi Gee, Drawings and Paintings competition are few events attracts the attention of the crowd.  People are welcome to produce attractive and creative exhibits for the Bauddhaloka Vesak Zone and there will be cash prizes for the best exhibits.


Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity)

This blog is all about travelling in Sri Lanka. I am trying to share my knowledge and experiences as a traveller, who had been to most parts of Sri Lanka, with my valued readers. My sole intention is to help my valuable readers to plan their most memorable Sri Lanka trip. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you need more information. Furthermore, I can organize your holiday package or any travel related requirement in Sri Lanka.