Home Art Guide to celebrating Vesak in Sri Lanka – Experience a cultural event in Sri Lanka

Guide to celebrating Vesak in Sri Lanka – Experience a cultural event in Sri Lanka

by Catalina Forbes
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Vesak celebrates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and his passing – also called nirvana. This is one of the most important cultural events in Sri Lanka celebrated by every Sri Lankan Buddhist. During May, the entire country takes on a festive note with lights and the smell of incense.

When does Vesak take place? 

Vesak Day is a holiday in May. Religious festivities and celebrations last for days, and every Buddhist household lights up with string lights and Vesak lanterns.

Where is Vesak celebrated?

Buddhism is one of the most widespread religions in the world. Apart from Sri Lanka, several other countries celebrate the festival. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Bhutan, Myanmar, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, and Singapore are some of the countries that celebrate Vesak.

What can you expect from the festivities?

Every country has different customs, but Vesak is generally a time of kindness and compassion. Every Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka gets crowded with Buddhists who want to be part of the religious rituals. Parades are common, and the giving of alms is popular too. Also, mediation sessions and traditional dances are inherent features of Vesak celebrations in Sri Lanka.

What should you know about visiting Sri Lanka during Vesak?

If you want to experience Sri Lanka’s culture, May is an excellent time to visit the country. There are festivities taking place all over the country, and you will also come across pop up stores selling a variety of vegetarian dishes. During this time, Kalutara hotels usually get packed with tourists, and properties the likes of Mermaid Hotel & Club might be all booked up, so ensure you make your reservations in advance. Also, if you are planning to visit temples, make sure you have the appropriate clothing for it.


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