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Duruthu Poya

The initial full moon day of the Gregorian calendar, commemorates the Buddha’s first of three visits to Sri Lanka. The Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya or the Kelaniya Temple, near Colombo, hosts a perahera, literally “procession”, to mark this symbolic event. The perahera is a spectacular aspect of Sri Lanka’s festivals in which an array of traditionally attired dancers, drummers, whip crackers, acrobats and enrobed elephants, participate. For visitors it’s one of Sri Lanka’s most appealing cultural attractions.

Thai Pongal

The Hindu harvest festival is celebrated on January 14 in Hindu homes and temples throughout the country. Worship at the kovil (temple) is mandatory for adherents to the faith. Special rituals are held at home too. such as the cooking and ceremonial consumption of traditional sweetened rive called pongal. An observance of creative nature, kolam, involves making intricate floor motifs with flour. In rural areas, a sequel known as Madu Pongal follows. Domestic animals are washed and fed; auspicious red colors smeared on their foreheads, and finally are garlanded with marigolds.

Galle Literary Festival

The end of January is home to the very popular Galle Literary Festival, a special four day event that welcomes world class writers and audiences from all around the world to take part in and witness a host of talks, workshops and literary events at venues in and around this heritage city.