Poson poya in Sri Lanka : Celebrating the Birth of Buddhism

Poson poya in Sri Lanka

When: June

Where: Anuradhapura & Mihintale

The Poson poya Story

The Poson Story

When King Devanampiyatissa was out hunting in the royal park in the third century BC, he noticed a bright human figure sitting on the rocky crag above him. Mahinda was responsible for introducing Buddhism to Sri Lanka. The Poson festival is a celebration of this historic event. The king afterward built several Buddhist monuments in the Anuradhapura world, including the planting of the Sri Maha Bodhi.

Poson festival

poson festival in Sri Lanka

The second-largest Buddhist celebration in Sri Lanka is the Poson poya festival. Poson Festival is celebrated by Buddhists all over Sri Lanka at the full moon of June every year. Due to the fact that it heralds the expansion of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, this event is of the greatest significance. At the Mihintale rock outcrop, where Buddhism is said to have first been introduced to Sri Lanka, the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa are claimed to have crossed hands.  According to legend, Arahat Mahinda in the historic city of Mihintale (Anuradhapura) converted the monarch to Buddhism.

The primary location for pleased festivities during Poson is the Ambasthale Dagoba, which was constructed in celebration of this conversion. Thousands of white-clad pilgrims climb the 1843 steps to the mountain’s highest point temple on this Poya day to offer prayers.

Poson event

Poson festival

On Poson Day, devotees flock to Anuradhapura to pay homage to the sacred temples and celebrate this historic event. Processions commemoration of the event, referred to as Mihindu Peraheras, are held in various parts of the country, with Mihintale being the best place to experience these illuminative and technicolored pageants.Among the many religious activities organized during this period, the most soulful experience would be the Sil Campaigns and Bodhi Poojas in temples in which the Buddhists participate and engage. Numerous white-clad pilgrims worship at temples, observing the Ten Precepts on Poson Poya day.

Many devotees from Sri Lanka visit Anuradhapura during Poson full moon to climb the mountain of Mihintale and engage in religious activities at the ancient temple. The most generous and fulfilling of this season’s activities would be the “Dansals” which are set up with the aim of giving-away food and beverage to people. As well as Pandols tell Buddhist stories by using photo banners, lighting, and music.

Other Buddhism festival

Vesak festival

Once a year, at the full moon in May, this Buddhist holiday is observed. The Vesak celebration celebrates the Buddha’s Birth nirvana and parinirvana. Buddhists passionately honor this day since these three events all occurred on the same day but in separate years. During the Poson full moon, worshippers from Sri Lanka travel to Anuradhapura to ascend Mihintale Mountain and participate in religious rituals at the old temple.

Most Buddhist devotes follow those rituals:

Vesak festival
Vesak poya day
  • Dressing in white
  • go to local temples
  • Lights on oil lamps as symbolic offerings to Buddha
  • Make papering lanterns and decorate the fronts of their homes, offices, shops, etc.

Esala festival

Esala Perahera

The celebration of the Tooth, commonly referred to as the Kandy Esala Perahera, is a celebration that takes place in Kandy, Sri Lanka, in July and August. Each year, this ancient procession is undertaken in memory of the Buddha’s Sacred Tooth Relic, which is kept at the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. The Sacred Tooth Relic, which is kept at Kandy’s Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, is revered and treated as the physical embodiment of Lord Buddha. The festival features unique Sri Lankan dances, including fire dances and performers in whip-dance attire. The Diya-kepeema rite, a water-cutting ceremony done at the Mahaweli River in Getambe, Kandy, traditionally marks the end of the celebration.

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