Sri Lankan Public Holidays 2014

Find out when public holidays in Sri Lanka are held so you can better plan your Sri Lankan holiday.

While religious festivals make the majority of the holidays in Sri Lanka, significance is given to Full moon poya days during which the sale of alcoholic beverages, meats and fish is prohibited. Some shops and businesses are also closed on poya days while the New Year festival in mid-April and the two day long holiday for Vesak in May see a general pause in government, mercantile and banking sectors, when the country takes time off to celebrate or to catch a breath.

Month Weekday Date Holiday name
January Tuesday 14 Tamil Thai Pongal Day
(A four day long Hindu Tamil Harvest Festival)
January Tuesday 14 Milad-Un-Nabi
(The celebration of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad)
January Wednesday 15 Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day
(Signifies the Lord Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka to settle a dispute between Yakkas

and Nagas)

February Tuesday 04 National Day
(Sri Lanka’s Independence Day is celebrated on 4th of February and commemorates the

independence from Colonial British rule in 1948)

February Friday 14 Navam Full Moon Poya Day
(Navam Full Moon Poya Day- The Navam Full moon Poya day celebrates the appointment

of Buddha’s two chief disciples and the first-ever Buddhist Council held after the passing

away of Lord Buddha)

February Thursday 27 Mahasivarathri Day
(A Hindu festival held in celebration of Lord Shiva and is believed to be his most favorite day)
March Sunday 16 Madin Full Moon Poya Day
(Celebration of Lord Buddha’s visit to his hometown Kapilavastu)
April Sunday 13 Day Prior to Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day
April Monday 14 Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day
(A local harvest festival and the beginning of traditional New Year, which carries a close

resemblance to many New Year festivals found in the region)

April Monday 14 Bak Full Moon Poya Day
(Bak Full moon Poya Day celebrates Lord Buddha’s second visit to Sri Lanka to make peace

between two warring local chiefs, who were also uncle and nephew)

April Friday 18 Good Friday
(Good Friday- is a religious Holiday commemorated by the Christian community in Sri Lanka

commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary)

May Thursday 01 Mayday
(The International Workers’ Day is celebrated with marches and public meeting all over Sri Lanka)
May Wednesday 14 Vesak Full Moon Poya Day
(Commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Gautama Buddha and is

celebrated in its full glory in Sri Lanka)

May Thursday 15 Day Following Vesak Full Moon Poya Day
June Thursday 12 Poson Full Moon Poya Day
(Commemorates the arrival of Buddhism to Sri Lanka from India and is celebrated as widely

and as grandly as Vesak itself)

July Saturday 12 Esala Full Moon Poya Day
(Celebrates the delivery of Lord Buddha’s first discourse ‘Dhammacakkappavattana Sutra’ to

five disciples at the deer park of Isipathana and commencement of Vas or Rainy Season

retreat for Bikkhus)

July Tuesday 29 Id-Ul-Fitr (Ramazan Festival Day)
(The festival of breaking the fast is an Islamic religious festival celebrating the end of the

29 -30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan)

August Sunday 10 Nikini Full Moon Poya Day
(The historic Kandy Esala Perahara ends on this day while Seruwila Raja Maha Viharaya

and Bellanwila Raja Maha Vihara annual Perahera are held during the month of Nikini)

September Monday 08 Binara Full Moon Poya Day
(The Buddhist Bikkhuni Order was established on a Binara Full moon Poya day)
October Sunday 05 Id-Ul-Alha (HadjiFestival Day)
(Adha is a three day global Islamic festival and is part of the Hajj or the pilgrimage

to Mecca)

October Wednesday 08 Vap Full Moon Poyaday
(The end of rainy season retreat or vas is celebrated on the Vap full moon poya day and

it also commemorates the Buddha’s preaching of Abhidamma to the gods in Tavatimsa)

October Wednesday 22 Deepawali Festival Day
(A Hindu festival known as the festival of light celebrating the victory light over darkness)
November Thursday 06 Il Full Moon Poyaday
(Commemorates the first Buddhist missionary mission by the first 60 arhants)
December Saturday 06 Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day
(The arrival of Bo-sapling of the sacred Jayasiri Maha Bodhi from India to Anuradhapura,

took place 2552 years ago on an Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day and the Sri Pada pilgrimage

season starts on the Unduvap Poya day)

December Thursday 25 Christmas Day
(Annual celebration of Birth of Jesus Christ)

*  Generally shops & businesses are closed on Poya days.


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