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Sri Lankan Public Holidays 2016

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

Friday

15

Tamil Thai Pongal Day 
(A four day long Hindu Tamil Harvest Festival)

January

Saturday

23

Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day
(Signifies the Lord Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka to settle a dispute between Yakkas and Nagas)

February

Thursday

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

Monday

22

Navam Full Moon Poya Day (Navam Full Moon Poya Day - The Navam full moon Poya day celebrates the appinment of Buddha’s two chief disciples and the first-ever Buddhist Council held after the passing away of Lord Buddha)

March

Monday

07

Mahasivarathri Day 
(A Hindu festival held in celebration of Lord Shiva and is believed to be his most favorite day)

March

Tuesday

22

Madin Full Moon Poya Day 
(Celebration of Lord Buddha’s visit to his hometown Kapilavastu)

March

Friday

25

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)

April

Wednesday

13

Day Prior to Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day

April

Thursday

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

Thursday

21

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)

May

Sunday

01

May day 
(The International Workers’ Day is celebrated with marches and public meeting all over Sri Lanka)

May

Saturday

21

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

Sunday

22

Vesak Full Moon Poya Holiday Day 
(Commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Gautama Buddha and is celebrated in its full glory in Sri Lanka)

June

Sunday

19

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

Wednesday

06

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)

July

Tuesday

19

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)

August

Wednesday

17

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

12

Id-Ul-Alha(Hadji Festival Day) (Adha is a three day global Islamic festival and is part of the Hajj or the pilgrimage to Mecca

September

Friday

16

Binara Full Moon Poya Day 
(The Buddhist Bikkhuni Order was established on a Binara Full moon Poya day)

October

Saturday

15

Vap Full Moon Poya Day(Marks Buddha's preaching of Abhidamma to the gods in Tavatimsa and the end of the Buddhist period of fasting)

October

Saturday

29

Deepavali Festival Day(Diwali marks the return of Lord Rama, who was the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, from a fourteen year exile.)

November

Monday

14

Ill Full Moon Poya Day(Commemorates Buddha's ordination of sixty disciples as the first missionaries)

December

Monday

12

Milad-Un-Nabi (Holy Prophet's Birthday.'Mawlid' is Celebrated by Muslims during the month of Rabiulawal, the third month of the Muslim calendar.)

December

Tuesday

13

Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day(Celebrates the arrival of the Bo tree sapling in Anuradhapura, brought by Ashoka's daughter, Sangamitta)

December

Sunday

25

Christmas Day(Christmas Day celebrates the Nativity of Jesus.On this day, over 2 billion people (over a third of the world's population) will celebrate the birth of Christ.)


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