4 Major Cultural Events in Sri Lanka

Plan your trip around a major Sri Lankan event!

Part of the joy in visiting a vibrant destination like Sri Lanka is immersing oneself in the culture and the best time to do this at one of the many events that take place in the country each year.

Whether it’s the large scale religious celebrations, like Christmas or New Year, that engulf the country on an annual basis or more local events that attract thousands of Sri Lankans into a small town or village; by planning your trip around one of these major events you can witness a slice of authentic Sri Lankan culture and get swept along with the excitement. As a developing country, there are more and more events being added to to Sri Lanka’s cultural calendar every year – so if you’re looking for a film festival, jazz night or fashion convention make sure to ask around when you arrive.

Before you book your tickets and hotel rooms, see if you can coincide your visit with one of these big events in Sri Lanka:

Sinhalese New Year

One of the biggest public holidays in the country, the Sinhalese New Year takes place on the 14th April in the Gregorian Calendar, this coincides with many other New Year celebrations across other South and Southeast Asian countries. Celebrated by Sinhalese and Tamil Sri Lankans alike, this holiday has long been celebrated by both Buddhists and Hindus in the country making it a multi-cultural event that is very Sri Lankan, without being overtly exclusive.

Where? All over the country When? 14th April

The Festival of the Tooth

No trip to Sri Lanka is complete without a visit to Kandy, home of the iconic Kandian dancers as well as the Temple of the Tooth, one of Sri Lanka’s biggest cultural landmarks. The temple is the final resting place of the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha and as such is a common pilgrimage destination for believers and non-believers alike. Buddhism is one of the main religions in Sri Lanka, so it follows that the procession, which pays homage to the Sacred Relic itself, is one of the grandest the country has to offer. Expect extravagant dancing, elephants in lavish garments and traditional drum music.

Where? Kandy When? Late August

Colombo Fashion Week

Inaugurated in 2003, Colombo Fashion Week has gone from strength to strength in that time and become the biggest Fashion event in the Sri Lankan calendar, expanding over two city-wide shows that attract some of the biggest names in Asian fashion. Sponsored by HSBC, the main event takes place in March each year, with a Summer Swimwear event taking place during July. Besides being a great showcase for emerging designers, Colombo Fashion Week is a chance to revel in Sri Lanka’s ambition and passion for the clothing industry.

Where? Colombo When? March 13th-18th & July

Hikkaduwa Beach Fest

Hikka Fest, as it’s commonly known to the locals, is the closest thing Sri Lanka has to a music festival that us Brits are familiar with. For five whole days, thousands of people flock to the South East coastal town, which is just a short drive from Galle. The festival is very much a family friendly event and is absolutely free for all. Dance all day to the best DJs in the country, eat tasty food whilst relaxing on the beach and enjoy sensational fireworks every night to cap it off – this is a festival that’s really worth making the trip for.

Where? Hikkaduwa When? July