Festival Cities in Sri Lanka
Being a very religious nation hosting the major ones such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, comes to life during many seasons that are attributed to religious festivals. Each religion has its peculiar but prominent days of celebrations and they are mutually respected by one another, the government also recognising the importance granting holidays in view of those. Although celebrated islandwide certain cities become the centre of focus during those festive days. Kandy becomes hyperactive during the Perahera pageant which is a cultural cum religious festival that runs for more than 10 days. It depicts the Kandyan Kingdom culture with dances, drums and even ‘Nilames’ (resembling chieftains of the past) with typical costumes. This draws a mammoth crowd of onlookers every year.
The Hindus too have their hotspots in and around important temples in some cities like Trincomalee, Jaffna and Chilaw. Christians generally celebrate Christmas in a month long festivity but the Roman Catholics have their annual feasts in most cities. Madhu, Tewatte, Kochchikade (near Colombo Fort) are some of the places for Catholics where many pilgrims too attend annually. The Muslims although quite a segment of the population, do not hold special events at specified location but do celebrate their festivals at large.
There are other pilgrim days such as the Adam’s Peak season when thousands climb this supposedly sacred mountain among the hills in the upcountry form where also the mouth of the longest river Mahaveli Ganga is found. Kataragama is another place for festival or pilgrimage where both Buddhists and Hindus visit to make vows to their deities.