The birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha is celebrated across Colombo (and Sri Lanka), but the festivities around Gangaramaya Temple and South Beira Lake are mind-blowing. Huge eruptions of coloured light displa…
In July and August, this predominantly Hindu festival draws thousands of devotees who make the pilgrimage (the Long Walk to Kataragama) over a two-week period.
Held on the February poya and led by 50 elephants; it starts from Gangaramaya Temple and is held around Viharamahadevi Park and South Beira Lake.
Spread over a period of 25 days in July and/or August, this Hindu festival climaxes on day 24 with parades of juggernaut floats and gruesome displays of self-mutilation by entranced devotees.
During the Vel, the gilded chariot of Murugan (Skanda), the Hindu war god, is ceremonially hauled from the Kathiresan kovil (temple) to a kovil at Bambalapitiya.
One of Sri Lanka's most important cultural events, this annual festival brings together renowned Asian and Western writers for workshops, talks and literary lunches and dinners.
Held at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara on the January poya (full moon).
During this harvest festival devotees flock to Hindu temples such as Sri Muthumariamman Kovil and Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil, which become even more colourful and lively.
Each December, thousands of pilgrims flock to Anuradhapura for Unduvap Poya, a festival that commemorates the arrival of the sacred bodhi tree from India.
Colombo's nascent jazz festival is well-funded and attracting big names. It's held at the Galle Face Hotel.