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Home > Event Calendar of Sri Lanka

Event Calendar of Sri Lanka

January February March April
May June July August
September Octomber November December

January

Galle Literary Festival

Galle Literary Festival

At the end of January, poets, writers, artists and architects from the world over will converge to the historic 17C Galle Fort for the celebration of writing, photography, music, ecology, architecture and cuisine. The inaugural Galle Literary Festival held in 2007 in Galle’s 17C Century Dutch Fort - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rewarded the optimism of its organizers. It was immediately listed by Harpers Bazaar as one the six most appealing literary festivals, alongside such gatherings as the Hay Festival in Columbia and the Wexford Book Festival in Ireland

Duruthu Perahera

Duruthu Perahera

Situated six miles from Colombo, besides the Kelani River, stands the ancient Kelani Raja Maha Viharaya with a history that dates back nearly 2,563.  According to the Mahavamsa, Lord Buddha stopped at this ancient temple during a visit to Sri Lanka in 523 BC where he was invited to preach at the invitation of the king. on the full moon day of January, the Duruthu Perahera is held displaying the ancient traditions, cultural heritage, traditional folklore, folk music and the rhythmic dance forms and drum beats, which have developed throughout the ages around Buddhism and Buddhist practices in the island.

Kala Pola

Kala Pola

A much looked forward to annual event in Colombo’s art calendar is the Kala Pola meaning 'art fair'. Initiated by the George Keyt Foundation and John Keells in 1992, the Kala Pola provides an `open air gallery’ for hundreds of talented artists from across the island to display and sell their works of art – an opportunity they would ordinarily not be able to afford with their own resources. As in the previous years, this year’s Kala Pola was a treat for your senses – an explosion of colour with local sculptors and artists from across the country displaying their creative talents while Colombo residents combed the Green Path in search of interesting pieces of art for their homes.

Whale Watching in Mirissa

Kala Pola

Whale spotting is an adventurous experience, possible at this time of the year & goes till April, in the off shore of the Southern

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February

Donald Steele Golf Tournament

Donald Steele Golf Tournament

In the Kandyan capital, the much awaited Donald Steele Golf Tournament is held in February in the picturesque Victoria Golf and Country Resort.

Navam Perehara

Navam Perehara

More excitement is unveiled on the streets of Colombo in February with the Navam Perehara that takes place on full-moon day. A treat for children and adults alike, this perehara show cases all the traditional dance forms including mask dancers, Kandyan and Kavadi dancers, drummers and glittering elephants. A number of elephants from various parts of the country make the long journey to Colombo along with their mahouts for this event.

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March

School Cricket in Sri Lanka

School cricket in Sri Lanka

School cricket in Sri Lanka is very popular and many of the annual `big’ matches are held in March of these the annual Royal Thomian cricket match is much anticipated and is good fun for both players and spectators. The annual hot air balloon festival also takes place in Colombo during March. Participants from around the world attend this festival.

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April

Sinhala & Hindu New Year Festival

Sinhale & Hindu New Year FestivalApril is a holiday month in Sri Lanka where the Sinhalese and Tamil communities celebrate the dawning of the New Year. It’s a time when families get together to conduct traditional rituals, religious ceremonies, offer thanks for a good rice harvest, an wish peace and prosperity to all for the coming new year. Celebrations and traditional rituals are best seen in the rural areas.

April Season in Nuwera Eliye

April Season in Nuwera Eliye

Colombo empties out during this time when most escape to the cooler hills or the sandy beaches. In anticipation of the holiday rush, Nuwara Eliya – the upcountry hill station, spruces itself up and various activities ranging from golf tournaments, motor cross races, and flower shows are all held. For those heading for the southern beaches.

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May

Vesak Celebration

Vesak CelebrationFull-moon Poya day in May, Buddhists all over the world venerate the life of Lord Buddha – his birth, enlightenment and passing away. Homes, villages and cities in Sri Lanka are lit up in serene splendor with oil lamps, intricate handmade lanterns, and colorful Pandals depicting the life story of Lord Buddha are erected across the island.

Surfing Season in Arugambay

Surfing Season in Arugambe

May is also the beginning of the surfing period in Arugam Bay in the southeast, listed as one of ten top surf spots in the world. Arugam Bay is a popular youthful haunt for holiday.

Beginning of the East coasts Beach Holiday Season

Beginning of the East coasts Beach Holiday SeasonSri Lanka’s undiscovered, the turquoise seas of the East & North east coasts :Trincomalee & Uppaweli ,Kalkudha & Pasikudha and Arugambe, are perfect at this time for a beach holiday .The season goes up to October and for Snorkeling and Diving the blue East coasts are ideal. Whale & dolphin spotting excursions are also organized along the coast.

Kite Surfing Season in Kalpitiye

Kite Surfing  Season in Kalpitiye

Kalpitiye, south west of Sri Lanka, has been identified as one of the best in the world for the Kite Surfing due to its unique wind condition .The season runs from May till September in Kalpitiye area.

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June

Poson Celebration

Poson CelebrationDuring the full-moon poya day of June, Buddhists celebrate Poson when the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Mahinda, is remembered. Thousands of pilgrims and devotees flock to Buddhist shrines across the country to pay homage to the Buddha, Dhamma (Buddha’s teachings) and the Sangha (the Buddhist monks). Mihintale where Buddhism originated on the island in 247 BC is takes on a serene air during this period with thousands of pilgrims lighting incense and oil lamps in honour of Buddha.

International surfing championships

Surfing Season in Arugambe

June is also the height of the surfing period in Arugam Bay when international surfing championships are held.

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July

Elephant Gathering at Minneriye

Elephant Gathering at MinnariyeDuring the dry season from July to October, water becomes scares in the north central province and wild elephants from all around migrate to Minneriya National Park’s large Minneriya reservoir. Coined as ‘The Gathering’, herds of over 300 elephants can be seen by the Minneriya water tank.

Main Shrine Festival of Kataragame

Main Shrine Festival of Kataragame

The sacred shrine of Kataragama comes alive during the month of July when the Processing is held for two weeks in honour of God Skandha, the warrior god of Kataragama. The perehara depicts Hindu folklore, music and dance forms, as well as fire walking in sacrifice and devotion to God Kataragama.

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August

Kandy Perehara / Procession

Kandy Perehara/ProcessionDuring the month of August, Kandy dazzles for two weeks with the sounds and lights of the Kandy Perehara – a magnificent procession where the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha is majestically paraded on elephant back along the streets of Kandy. This ritual, which has been taking place for hundreds of years, is an experience of a lifetime.

Bellanwila Perehara / Procession

Bellanwila Perehara/Procession

Colombo’s Bellanwila temple also holds its annual perehera which is also a colorful procession of the island.

Hikkaduwa Beach Fest

Hikkaduwa beach festThe annual Hikkaduwa beach fest will take place in August. Organised by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, this festival draws large crowds from Colombo and overseas. The three day event starts off with a drumming festival followed by beach parties and other side events. Flags fluttering, music blasting, thousands walking about in their flip flops and beach shorts, all weekend long Rave parties, jazz sessions on the beach, and the fabulous Hikka drummers – a weekend of revelry for the young at heart.

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September & Octomber

Colombo Marathon

Colombo MarathonThe annual Colombo Marathon is organised by the Association of International Marathons & Distance Races in association with Lanka Sportreizen and the Ministry of Tourism. First started in 1998, this annual event sees many participants from Sri Lanka and overseas.

Sri Lankan Airlines Golf Classic in Kandy

Sri Lankan Airlines Golf Classic in Kandy

The beautiful Victoria Golf & Country Resort’s accolades speak for themselves: ‘Best Course in Asia 2005’ Asian Golf monthly ranked in ‘Top 100 Most Beautiful courses in the World,’ by Golfers Digest. Set in the spectacular Kandyan hill country, this Donald Steel designed course is a true test of all your golfing ability. The much anticipated annual Sri Lankan Airlines Golf Classic is held in October at this picturesque golf course.

Annaiwilundawa Migratory birds

Annaiwilundawa Migratory birdsAnnaiwilundawa meaning ‘seven wetlands or tanks’ in the local Tamil language, refers to a cluster of freshwater tanks within the sanctuary. This is a very important wetland for many resident and migratory birds. The best time to visit Annaiwilundawa is during the months from October to April when numerous species of birds can be spotted. These wetlands are also important nesting sites for water birds such as the Asian Open-bills, Painted Storks, all specie of Egrets, Little Indian & the endangered Great Cormorants, Spot-billed Pelican and Black-headed Ibis. This wetland sanctuary is also excellent for butterfly and dragonfly watching.

National Festivals Of Kites

National Festivals Of KitesA festival of color and life, the National Festival of Kites is the place where creativity soars to the heights unreached as people from all age groups and backgrounds display their handiwork and paint the skies, each with a different shade. Competitors could be any person, group or organization but the festival is open to all. Kites are in all shapes and sizes and are usually made with dried leaves and colorful papers and sarees. There usually competitions for longest kite or the most innovative kite with natural resources among many others.

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November

World Spice Festival in Colombo

World Spice Festival in ColomboSponsored by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, the sixth annual World Food & Spice Festival will be held in Colombo in November this year. Colombo’s leading hotels and restaurants come together for a week long celebration of cuisine from different parts of the world. Participating hotels and restaurants include the Cinnamon Grand, Taj Samudra, Galle Face Hotel, Hilton Colombo, Mount Lavinia Hotel, Regina Magharita, Nihon Bashi, Mango Tree and Raja Bojun to name a few. World class chefs are flown in for this event.

Sri Lanka Design Festival

Sri Lanka Design Festival

The inaugural `Sri Lanka Design Festival 2009’ attracted a global audience and offered plenty of creative inspiration for those interested in creative design. Conceptualized by the Academy of Design in Colombo and sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka, a host of private sector companies and the British Council, the design festival promoted Sri Lanka’s creative industries from heritage crafts such as handloom textile weaving, pottery, and Beeralu lace making to contemporary arts and crafts, fashion design, and architecture. Well known local and foreign design personalities conducted creative workshops, discussions, fashions shows and art exhibitions under the festival themes of `Design without Limits, Garments without Guilt, and Ideas without Boundaries.’ The 2010 Design

Festival named `Design Difference 2010’ was held in Mount Lavinia and was equally inspiring. It provided a window into Sri Lanka’s design talents.

Hot Air ballooning in the Cultural Triangle

Hot Air ballooning in the Cultural TriangleSoar high above Kandalama, the ancient Dambulla rock temple and the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Enjoy the beautiful sunrise and spot wild elephants and water buffalo as you fly over untouched wilderness. Ballooning trips are now offered daily throughout the season from November to April when the winds are light and the sky at its bluest.

Beginning of Whale and dolphin watching in Kalpitiya & Mirissa

Beginning of Whale and dolphin watching in Kalpitiya & MirissaThe south of Sri Lanka beyond Dondra Head is considered one of the best locations in the world for spotting Blue Whales, Sperm Whales and Spinner Dolphins. The North West coast off Kalpitiya is also ideal for spotting pods of Spinner Dolphins and whales. Boat excursions into the deep seas are possible during the season from December to April when the seas are calm in these areas. During this time, large pods of Dolphins, sometimes in their hundreds can be seen just a few miles off the coast. These Dolphins often swim along side the boats and frolic in the seas - a thrilling site for children and adults alike. Whale watching excursions in the deep seas can take upto three hours. Several private watersports companies including Mirissa Water Sports and Alankuda Beach, offers whale and dolphin watching excursions.

Beginning of migrant bird’s season

Beginning of migrant bird’s season

Sri Lanka is a birder's delight. Its tropical climate and relative isolation is responsible for the amazingly diverse bird life that attracts more than 490 species. Almost 111 migrant species descend on the country having flown south for the winter. Some, like the sandpipers and plovers, come from as far north as the arctic tundra. The migrant season starts in November and continues on till March. Whether bird watching is your passion, or you merely fancy a dabble, pick up a pair of binoculars, a guidebook and a notepad and join us in this birdwatcher’s paradise.

White water rafting season in Kitulgala

White water rafting season in KitulgalaExperience the thrills and spills of an exciting rafting adventure in a jungle paradise. The rafting trip mixes the excitement of the rapids with calm sections that meander through the jungle-clad mountains, tea and rubber plantations of the Kandyan hill-country. In one section all you can hear is the pounding water rushing through the rapids and in the next, only the chirping birds break the silence. The scenery is breathtaking. November to April is the best season for this activity.

Yala's leopards

Yala’s leopards

The best time of year to spot Yala’s leopard cubs is from November to December. This endangered leopard subspecies - Panthera Pardus Kotiya is only found in Sri Lanka and is difficult to spot. The Yala National Park situated in the south east corner of the island, is also home to sloth bear, wild elephants, sambar, deer, crocodiles and numerous species of birds.

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December

Adam's Peak climbing season begins

Adam’s Peak climbing season beginsSri Pada, or Adam’s Peak, is sacred to all four religious groups in Sri Lanka – the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and the Christians. During the climbing season from December to April, thousands of devotees from many faiths make the pilgrimage to the peak of this 2,234 meter mountain. Young and old give courage to each other and recite traditional stanzas while climbing to the peak. The climb is best attempted at night where you reach the mountain top to see the sunrise and the awe-inspiring view from the top.

Christmas

Christmas

Christmas is celebrated in true Sri Lankan style with festivities starting weeks ahead with all the hotels and shops in Colombo decked out for the holidays. Special Christmas services are held in churches and small chapels across the country. Colombo usually takes a week long holiday beginning from Christmas Eve up until New Year’s Day on January 1st.

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