Vesak is the main Buddhist religious festival in Sri Lanka. During this time, people celebrate the triple anniversary of Lord Buddha – his birth, his attaining of Enlightenment and his passing away into Nirvana.
Colourful bamboo-framed lanterns adorn the interior of every home and luminous displays decorate the streets of most towns. Visit Bhauddoloka Mawatha, the main street in Colombo, to catch this glowing spectacle in full glory.
Vesak marks the first month of the Buddhist Calendar. This is a day spent in reflective prayer as people cease worldly pursuits and engage themselves in religious activities. Devoted Buddhists pray in temples from dawn until dusk. As the sun sets, devotees partake in processions and return to the temples in the evening to hear monks read stories from sacred texts.
Roadside stalls distribute free refreshments to passers-by and there are mime and street theatre performances, staged on tall platforms near temples in cities and towns throughout the country.