The 2022 calendar signifying the Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka
Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka – 2022

The paradise island of Sri Lanka always tops the list of the best tourist attractions in the world for many reasons. Basically, it is like an all-in-one package for a perfect vacation. Besides, the Sri Lankan community is made up of people who belong to various ethnicities. And yes, a multicultural nation means more festivals and holidays. So, knowing about these important events and special days in Sri Lanka is sure to help you with planning your vacation in the way that you like the most. Thus, we thought of enlightening you with regard. Continue reading for a full overview!

What are the Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka? 

The following table will help you have a quick glance over the important events and the special days in Sri Lanka for the year 2022!

Special EventsDay of celebration in 2022
Dawn of the New Year1st January 2022
Thai Pongal Festival 14th January 2022
Duruthu Maha Perahera16th January 2022
Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day17th January 2022
Independence Day4th February 2022
Navam Full Moon Poya Day16th February 2022
Maha Shivaratri Festival1st March 2022
Madin Full Moon Poya Day17th March 2022
Sinhala and Tamil New Year14th April 2022
Good Friday15th April 2022
Bak Full Moon Poya Day16th April 2022
Easter Sunday17th April 2022
May Day1st May 2022
Eid-Al-Fitr3rd May 2022
Vesak Full Moon Poya Day15th May 2022
Poson Full Moon Poya Day14th June 2022
Eid-Al-Adha10th July 2022
Esala Full Moon Poya Day13th July 2022
Nikini Full Moon Poya Day11th August 2022
The Grand Procession of Esala Perahera Festival11th August 2022
Binara Full Moon Poya Day10th September 2022
Milad-Un-Nabi Festival9th October 2022
Vap Full Moon Poya Day9th October 2022
Deepavali Festival24th October 2022
Ill Full Moon Poya Day7th November 2022
Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day7th December 2022
Christmas25th December 2022
Special Days in Sri Lanka – 2022

All these days have a significance of their own. In fact, some hold cultural values, while others hold national values that are important for all Sri Lankans. However, the significance of these special days in Sri Lanka is certainly worth getting to know about. Scroll down to learn about them in detail!

Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka in January 2022

The month of January marks the new year with the hope of new beginnings. Thus, January is a super fresh and special month and these are the main events of January 2022.

Dawn of the New Year

Sri Lankans welcome the brand new year along with the whole world on the 1st of January each year.

  • Date of Celebration: Saturday, 1st January 2022
  • Significance: First day of the year according to the Gregorian calendar
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: 1st January is not a public holiday in Sri Lanka. Still, many households prepare a ‘kiribath’ dish, a traditional Sri Lankan dish, as the first meal of the year. However, it is important to note that the Sri Lankans give priority to their religion on special occasions, as the Sri Lankan culture is entangled with religious values. Thus, as they mark the beginning of a year, they observe their religion and visit religious places in the hope of having a blessed year ahead. 31st night celebrations are also very common to start the new year with a blast. With such celebrations, Sri Lankans take a fresh start to their lives on the 1st of January.

Thai Pongal Festival

Tamils worldwide celebrate the Thai Pongal festival to show gratitude towards mother nature for offering a good harvest.

  • Date of Celebration: Friday, 14th January 2022
  • Significance: It is a thanksgiving ceremony for the goodwill of mother nature. The day is also dedicated to the Sun God.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Sri Lankan Tamils celebrate Thai Pongal to pay tribute to the sun, cattle, and nature for their support to agriculture. Thus, this festival is famous as an event of ‘retreat’. The festivities start with boiling milk. Hindus decorate their house with ‘kolam’ patterns and prepare a sweet rice dish called ‘Pongal’. Apart from that, Hindus also prepare several other traditional sweetmeats on this special day. Of course, Hindus share these sweet dishes with their neighbors and relatives as well. They also bathe their cattle, decorate them, and treat them with festive food. Further, families get together and visit the kovil to offer their gratitude and hope for good fortune in the new year.

Duruthu Maha Perahera 

This glorious procession is held annually in January from 1927 and is organized by the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya.

  • Date of Celebration: Sunday, 16th January 2022
  • Significance: This perahera is the first grand Buddhist event of the year which is held to commemorate Lord Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Remembering this significant incident, a perahera festival, which means a vibrant parade takes place, focusing on the town of Kelaniya. There are three stages in the entire perahera festival which is held three consecutive days prior to the Duruthu poya day. There are pirith ceremonies, two processions and the momentous event is the ‘randoli perahera’. Indeed, it is a cultural magnificence with many performances and rituals. Thus, the grand procession certainly is a highlight in the annual Buddhist calendar.

Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day

Poya day is a Buddhist holiday that falls on the full moon day of each month. Accordingly, Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day is the poya day of the month of January.

  • Date of Celebration: Monday, 17th January 2022
  • Significance: Lord Buddha visited Sri Lanka for the first time and left his footprint on Adam’s peak on a Duruthu poya day.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: On this day, Buddhists visit the temple and engage in various religious practices such as observing sil, Bodhi puja, and almsgiving. This poya day also marks the beginning of the pilgrimage season to Adam’s peak or Samanala mountain. Hence, buddhist pilgrims start visiting the Samanala mountain to worship Lord Buddha’s footprint from this poya day onwards.

Important Events and Special Days in February 2022

February is a month with only a few special days in Sri Lanka. You can find below the details about the main events among them.

Independence Day

The national independence day is to celebrate the pride, bravery, and freedom of the Sri Lankan nation.

  • Date of Celebration: Friday, 4th February 2022
  • Significance: Sri Lanka was colonized for more than five centuries, and it was the British who ruled the country at last during that period. Sri Lanka gained political independence from British rule on the 4th of February 1948, and the national independence day of Sri Lanka commemorates this incident.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Sri Lanka celebrates the 74th independence in 2022. As you might already know, this day is a celebration of unity for Sri Lanka as one nation. The main event of the Sri Lankan National Independence Day is held at Independence Square in Colombo. The Sri Lankan president, prime minister, ministers, along with the foreign officials grace this occasion. This event holds a two-minute silence in commemoration of the heroes who fought in the battle of achieving freedom in Sri Lanka. Thereafter, the event continues with a parade of the tri forces and several other cultural performances that reveal to the world the Sri Lankan heritage. Meanwhile, all Sri Lankans raise the national flag at home to pay respect to their country on this day.

Navam Full Moon Poya Day

Navam Full Moon Poya is the poya day in February, and it is also a public holiday.

  • Date of Celebration: Wednesday, 16th February 2022
  • Significance: The first-ever Buddhist congregation and the appointment of the two chief disciples happened on a day as such.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Buddhists prioritize their religious activities. A perahera is organized by the Gangaramaya temple in Colombo on this poya day.

Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka in March 2022

Comparatively, March is also a month with fewer special days in Sri Lanka. Here are the notable events of Sri Lanka in March.

Maha Shivaratri Festival

This is one of the most important religious events for Hindus. Maha Shivarathri is popular as the ‘Great night of Shiva’ as well.

  • Date of Celebration: Tuesday, 1st March 2022
  • Significance: This festival is to celebrate God Shiva and it symbolizes overcoming darkness and ignorance. It is believed that Lord Shiva performs the heavenly dance on this day.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Hindu devotees engage in religious activities like bathing the Shiva linga with milk, offering prayers, fasting, and conducting pooja to exhibit their love and respect for the God Shiva. Besides, Maha Shivaratri consists of several colorful and vibrant festivals mainly in Shiva temples.

Madin Full Moon Poya Day

This is the Full Moon Poya Day of the month of March. Buddhists look forward to the poya day to observe the Dhamma teachings of the Lord Buddha.

  • Date of Celebration: Thursday, 17th March 2022
  • Significance: On a Madin poya day, Lord Buddha visited his family after six years of enlightenment. Moreover, Lord Buddha’s son, prince Rahula entered the Buddha Sasana on a day as such.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Buddhists visit temples to engage in religious activities on this poya day as well.

Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka in April 2022

This is the most happening month of the whole year with several interesting cultural festivals. The spring vibes and the anticipation of the colorful events make it a favorite time for many Sri Lankans. Besides, the school vacation that the students get during this month makes it more special. However, these are the iconic events in the month of April.

Sinhala and Tamil New Year Day

Sinhala and Tamil New Year is the traditional new year celebrated usually on the 14th of April by the Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka.

  • Date of Celebration: Thursday, 14th April 2022
  • Significance: Welcoming a new year as the sun moves from the Meena rashiya (house of pisces) to the Mesha rashiya (house of aries).
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: This is the biggest celebration of the year for the Sinhalese and Tamils. Further, it has a special bond with astrology as well. There are many traditions and rituals that are conducted at an auspicious time with relevance to this festival. The main rituals of the day include lighting the hearth, enjoying the Avurudu table with Kiribath, exchanging money, starting work, and anointing oil. Ladies prepare delicious traditional sweets for the Avurudu table such as kavun, kokis, aluwa, and aasmi. Families get together and celebrate the new year in an extravagant manner. They also visit other families and friends during this season. People move on to the new year with a happy mindset after the celebrations.

Good Friday

Christians celebrate Good Friday before the Easter celebrations in order to pay respect for the sacrifices made by Jesus Christ.

  • Date of Celebration: Friday, 15th April 2022
  • Significance: Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Christians attend the church services in the afternoon. These services usually last for 3 hours symbolizing the last hours of Jesus Christ. They dress in sober attire as this is considered a mourning day. It is a public holiday in Sri Lanka.

Bak Full Moon Poya Day

This is an important poya day as it falls on the month of the traditional Sinhala and Tamil new year.

  • Date of Celebration: Saturday, 16th April 2022
  • Significance: Lord Buddha visited Sri Lanka for the second time after five years of enlightenment on a day as such.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Buddhists engage in religious activities in temples and take blessings for the new year.

Easter Sunday

This is another festive event for Christians worldwide.

  • Date of Celebration: Sunday, 17th April 2022
  • Significance: Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Special church services are held with joy and celebration for the empathy of Jesus Christ towards humankind. While this is not a public holiday in Sri Lanka, Christians make sure to attend the church and celebrate Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. There are also new trends in practice like easter parties with Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs mainly in the urban areas.

Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka in May 2022

May is a month with spirited religious festivals. It is also an important month for the working class too. The special events in May are as follows.

May Day

May Day is the International Workers’ Day celebrated on the 1st of May.

  • Date of Celebration: Sunday, 1st of May 2022
  • Significance: Celebrated in remembrance of the labor movement and the historic struggles and achievements of the working class.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Major political parties in the country organise huge May rallies with their party men. These rallies are usually held in Colombo. It is a public holiday and many businesses and public transportation modes don’t work on the day. So, it is better not to schedule any traveling on Mayday.


This is a Muslim religious festival and is the first of two Eids in the Islamic calendar year.

  • Date of Celebration: Tuesday, 3rd May 2022
  • Significance: It is a festival held to break the holy fast of the Ramadan season. 
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: On Eid-Al-Fitr, Muslims end their month of holy fast and prayers. This is a joyous occasion for Muslims. During this festival, they attend communal prayers and listen to sermons. They also share food and money with the needy.

Vesak Full Moon Poya Day

This is the most sacred poya day for the Buddhists and Vesak is a festival with both religious and cultural values.

  • Date of Celebration: Sunday, 15th May 2022
  • Significance: The birth, enlightenment, and death of the Lord Buddha happened on a day as such. This festival also marks several other important milestones of Buddhism.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Temples in Sri Lanka are flocked with Buddhists on Vesak poya day as they commemorate the sacred life of Lord Buddha. People decorate their houses with Vesak lanterns, lights, and oil lamps. In the urban areas, Vesak is a highly commercialized matter as the towns are decorated with marvelous decorations filled with lights. Many go to see these decorations in towns at night. 

Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka in June 2022

June arrives in Sri Lanka after two buzzing months. However, there are only a few special events in June.

Poson Full Moon Poya Day

Poson is considered the second most important Buddhist holiday with much historical and religious importance.

  • Date of Celebration: Tuesday, 14th June 2022
  • Significance: Buddhists celebrate the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Arahat Mahinda in the 3rd century BC. King Asoka of India is the pioneer in sharing Buddhism with Sri Lanka.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Anuradhapura and Mihintale are the prominent areas for the Poson celebrations as Arahat Mahinda landed on Mihintale on his first visit to Sri Lanka. There are processions, Poson devotional songs, Poson pandols, and almsgiving stalls organised across the country for the Poson festival. As usual, Buddhists also spend the day in temples practising various religious activities.

Important Events and Special Days in July 2022

With the beginning of the second half of the year, it seems like the number of special events is gradually decreasing. However, July is an important month for the Muslim community.


Eid-Al-Adha or the Hajji Festival is the second event of the two great Muslim festivals.

  • Date of Celebration: Sunday, 10th July 2022
  • Significance: This event is called the ‘feast of sacrifice’ as it signifies the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son under the command of Allah.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Muslims visit the mosque to engage in religious observances. They reunite with their families and friends wearing new clothes. As in other Muslim events as well, they tend to do charity especially within their community itself. Engaging in good deeds as such are considered important on Eid-Al-Adha.

Esala Full Moon Poya Day

This is another poya day with much religious significance to the Buddhists.

  • Date of Celebration: Wednesday, 13th July 2022
  • Significance: The conception of Prince Siddartha in Queen Mahamaya’s womb, deliverance of the first discourse by Lord Buddha, and preaching Dhamma to the five ascetics are the most important events that took place on the Esala poya day. Anyway, there are many other significant events of Buddhism that happened on Esala poya days as well.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: As usual, Buddhists engage in religious practices in the temples. Furthermore, on the day following the Esala poya day, Buddhist monks observe ‘Vas’ which is the annual rain retreat for the monks.

Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka in August 2022

The highlight of the month of August, otherwise normal, is undoubtedly the Esala perahera festival. You can find below about the Esala Perahera festival, as well as the other special days in Sri Lanka that fall in the month of August.

Nikini Full Moon Poya Day

This is also a remarkable poya day in relation to the Esala perahera festival and the ‘Vas’ ceremony.

  • Date of Celebration: Thursday, 11th August 2022
  • Significance: The first Dhamma sangayana (convocation) which was held after 3 months from Lord Buddha’s parinirvana and the attainment of Arhatship by the Lord Buddha’s chief disciple, Ananda thero are the main events that happened on the Nikini poya day.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: On the Poya holiday, Buddhists engage in religious activities and visit the temple. Buddhist monks can observe ‘vas’ on this poya day as well if they missed the ceremony on the previous poya day. Moreover, the Kandy Esala perahera ends on Nikini poya day.

The Grand Procession of Esala Perahera Festival

The Esala Perahera Festival is a glamorous cultural procession that you should at least once witness when you visit Sri Lanka. It is an attractive celebration that reveals the grandeur and the richness of Sri Lankan culture.

  • Date of Celebration: Thursday, 11th August 2022
  • Significance: This is the festival celebrated in honor of the sacred tooth relic which is placed in the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. This Buddhist celebration lasts for 10 days.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Grand processions and various religious ceremonies are held within 10 days and the last perahera which is the Randoli perahera is the most spectacular event of them all. The procession consists of elegantly decorated tuskers, drummers, traditional dancers, singers, flag bearers, torchbearers, and nilames. It is the pride of Kandy and a representative of the great Sri Lankan culture to the whole world. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit Kandy to see this miraculous event every year.

Important Events and Special Days in September 2022

September is a less hectic month with fewer special events in comparison to the other months. You can find below about these important days.

Binara Full Moon Poya Day

This is another special poya day for the Buddhists in Sri Lanka.

  • Date of Celebration: Saturday, 10th September 2022
  • Significance: Lord Buddha permitted females to join the sasana as monks upon the request of his stepmother, Queen Prajapati.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Buddhists observe the religion, meditate and engage in religious practices on the poya day.

Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka in October 2022

October 2022 is a month with much religious significance to Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus in Sri Lanka. Continue reading to find out why!


This is the most popular Islamic festival in Sri Lanka and across the world as well.

  • Date of Celebration: Saturday, 8th October 2022
  • Significance: Islams celebrate the Prophet Muhammed’s birthday.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Muslims celebrate the day with recitals, family gatherings, and delicious meals. Different branches within the Muslim community have different traditions in celebrating Milad-Un-Nabi. Some Muslims visit the mosque to commemorate the Prophet Muhammed. Moreover, some Muslims share their wealth with the needy and participate in charity programs. However it is, they celebrate this festival with much devoutness and respect.

Vap Full Moon Poya Day

It falls on the full moon day in the seventh month according to the Sinhalese calendar.

  • Date of Celebration: Sunday, 9th October 2022
  • Significance: Lord Buddha visited Tavatimsa to teach Abhidhamma to his mother.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Buddhists attend to the needs of Buddhist monks as they stay inside the temples. Other usual religious activities also take place in temples.


Deepavali is one of the major festivals for Hindus which is also known as ‘the festival of lights’. This festival is called ‘Diwali’ as well.

  • Date of Celebration: Monday, 24th October 2022
  • Significance: Marks the beginning of the Hindu new year according to the lunar calendar.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: In brief, Deepavali symbolizes the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, and Hindus pay tribute to the Hindu gods on this day with much religiousness. Apart from that, this is a festival of lights with colorful decorations, fireworks, and lamps. Simply, the streets with Hindu houses are glowing with lights on this day. Besides, Hindus make Diwali an opportunity to practice sharing as well. Accordingly, Hindus exchange sweets and gifts with their families and friends on this day. Moreover, their colorful attire on this special day adds more glamor to this vibrant festival.

Important Events and Special Days in November 2022

It is getting close to the end of the year and times are getting calm and quiet. The special events of the month of November are as follows.

Ill Full Moon Poya Day

This is the penultimate poya day of the year which falls in November.

  • Date of Celebration: Monday, 7th November 2022
  • Significance: Lord Buddha obtained vivarana by the Bodhisattva Maitreya on an Ill poya day.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate:  Buddhists engage in their usual religious activities. This poya day concludes the three-month retreat of the Buddhist monks.

 Important Events and Special Days in Sri Lanka in December 2022

December marks the end of another year and yes, of course, it is the most wonderful time of the year. It creates a season to sparkle and a bunch of reasons for people to celebrate!

Unduvap Full Moon Poya day

This is the last poya day of the year according to the western calendar.

  • Date of Celebration: Wednesday, 7th December 2022
  • Significance: Ven. Sangamitta Theri brought a sacred bo sapling to Sri Lanka which is now the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura.
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Buddhists visit the temples and engage in various religious activities.


Undoubtedly, Christmas is the most awaited Christian holiday that brings happiness and joy to every Christian household. Sri Lankans too, celebrate this festival with much happiness in a way that is second to any other country in the world!

  • Date of Celebration: Saturday, 25th December 2022
  • Significance: Christians and Catholics commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ
  • How Sri Lankans celebrate: Christians attend the midnight mass services to welcome Christmas. Upon receiving blessings, they greet each other and continue the celebrations with fireworks, family gatherings, and feasts. Many people attend Christmas parties irrespective of their religion. Further, Christians and even non-Christians in Sri Lanka decorate their houses with Christmas trees and Christmas decorations. Indeed, the decorations are on the next level in big cities. Owing to all these reasons, it is not a secret that Christmas unites all Sri Lankans in the form of a cultural festival.

The Bottom Line

Of course, this charming island of Sri Lanka is simply a land of festivals. Besides, the uniqueness they hold, with different cultural values enhance the delight of these celebrations beyond a doubt. Also, the diversity of such special events reveals the vibrance of Sri Lankan culture. So, as a tourist, you will certainly love to get a peek at these amazing Sri Lankan traditions.

After all, we are sure that this read will help you to plan your vacation, in the way that you love the most, aiming at the festivals that you would wish to witness on this island. However, it is a must note that the weather conditions, political issues, or security issues might impact the way that the Sri Lankans celebrate these festivals. So, if you are aiming at any of these festivals when you travel to Sri Lanka, make sure you get updated with the latest news. The official website of the Government Information Center and the Department of Metrology is sure to help you with it.

Happy and safe traveling!