Kandy Perahara- Mid July to August each Year
One of the biggest Buddhist celebrations of the year, the annual Kandy Perahera (Esala Perahera) is a religious ceremony during which devotees pray for sufficient rains to bless the country and crop cultivation. One of Buddhism’s most sacred relics, the Sacred Tooth is taken from the Temple the Tooth and paraded through the streets as part of the Kandy Perahera. Following this, more festive events take centre stage and visitors can expect to see a lively cast of dancers, jugglers and fire-breathers milling amongst the crowds
Kandy Perahera Commences on Esala Full Moon or “Poya” Day on the month of July and concludes on Nikini Full Moon Poya Day on the month of August
Held in July or August according to the dates of the full moon, Esala Perahera has become a symbol of Sri Lanka . It is very grand with months of elaborate preparation, elegant costumes, well choreographed demonstrations of talent from various artistes and of course the sage procession of well trained elephants. There are fire-dances, whip-dancers, Kandyan dances and various other cultural dances. The elephants are usually adorned with lavish garments and beautiful lights. The Kandy Perahera festival ends with a traditional ‘diya-kepeema’ ritual.
The significance of this great event is to invoke blessings of the deities to ensure the farmers rain to cultivate their crops. This ritual is performed by carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha through the city streets which is done with great ceremony.
The tooth relic was brought to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the year 310 AD and the first Esala Perahera (Kandy Perahera) was performed in Anuradhapura, the first capital where the sacred relic was housed.