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Thai Pongal celebrations

Sri Lanka is a land of cultural celebrations. Since it is a multi-ethnic country, celebrations of the Tamil community, plays a major part of ethnic culture in Sri Lanka. The tradition and custom of celebrating Thai Pongal in Sri Lanka is the same that of Tamils in India. Among Sri Lankan Tamils, this festival is also known as the First rice festival. In Sri Lanka, Rice is considered the staple food. Thus, the harvest festival is one of the most significant occasions for them.

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Colombo Navam Perahera

Navam Maha Perahera celebrated in the month of February (Navam) on full moon day, is an annual parade held since 1979 in the city of Colombo drawing thousands to witness the grand procession that combines dance, culture and splendor.

The heavily decorated elephants with their majesty and elegance are a major attraction holding spectators in awe among the sights and sounds of various cultural performers, dancers and drummers. The Perahera parades a number of streets and the main road in front of the Gangaramaya temple and along the Beira Lake - Navam Mawatha in Colombo. Navam Maha Perahara is a much celebrated and revered occasion that brings together communities and depicts the country's religious and cultural traditions.

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Maha Shivarathri Day

Maha Shivratri is a Hindu religious festival celebrated annually in the month of February by the Tamil community in reverence of the god Shiva. There are various interesting legends related to the festival of Maha Shivaratri. According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava', the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Another popular Shivratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga. Hence the day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees and they celebrate it as Mahashivaratri - the grand night of Shiva.

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Sinhala and Hindu New Year

The Sinhala and Hindu New year, known as the ‘Aluth Awurudda' in Sinhalese is celebrated not only by Sinhalese, but also by Tamils as well as most Sri Lankans. This festival which emphasizes on a New beginning, is generally celebrated on the 13th and 14th of April.

According to Sinhalese astrology, New Year begins when the sun moves from Meena Rashiya (the house of Pisces) to Mesha Rashiya (the house of Aries). It also marks the end of the harvest and spring.

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Vesak

On the full moon day of the month of May, Vesak festival is celebrated among Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Vesak is a religious and cultural festival in Sri Lanka and is one of the biggest days of the year and is celebrated by Buddhists all over the world. To Sri Lanka, it is what Christmas is to the West. A festival of togetherness, a festival of rejoicing in the birth and enlightenment of the Lord Buddha, as well as a time for reflection on his parinibbana - death.

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Poson Festival

The Poson Festival, or Poson full-moon poya day as usually mentioned is celebrated island-wide by Buddhists. This religious festival is celebrated to commemorate the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC. It is a significant historical event to the country where majority of people practices Buddhism as their religion.

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The Kandy Esala Perahera

Sri Lanka is famous for its glamorous religious processions. Thus the Kandy Esala Perahera, one of Sri Lanka's most famous and fascinating religious festivals. Usually this colourful procession takes place every year in the hill-capital Kandy, in the full-moon month of Esala in the months of July and August.

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Deepavali Fesitival

As Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic country, it is a cultural mosaic, which has Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian elements. Deepavali as Sri Lankans call it, is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The festival, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. The actual day of Diwali is traditionally celebrated on the festival's third day, which usually falls between the middle of October and the middle of November. While each faith has its own reason to celebrate the festival, one of the most popular stories told is the legend of Lord Rama and his wife Sita returning to their kingdom in northern India from exile after defeating the king Ravanna of Sri Lanka in the 15th century BC.

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Christmas Festival

In Sri Lanka ethnic diversity is very much respected. Thus, Christmas in Sri Lanka is celebrated in the true Sri Lankan style. Although the majority of Sri Lankan population is Buddhists, and Christians make up only 7% of the total population of the country, Sri Lankans celebrate the Christmas season with great enthusiasm.

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