Colourful celebrations in Colombo for Navam Poya Day

We had the pleasure of watching the spectacular celebrations for Navam Poya Day in Colombo earlier this month.

The Navam Perahera, centred around the magnificent Gangaramaya Temple in the commercial heart of the city, takes place on our office doorstep. It is a vibrant procession which takes place over two consecutive nights, drawing crowds from across the island who sit and watch from benches at the side of the road.

Navam Poya Day is an annual occurrence which marks the day when the first Buddhist council met to hear Lord Buddha teach the fundamental code of ethics for Buddhist monks. It was also the day when Arahant Sariputta and Arahant Moggallana were appointed as the Buddha’s chief disciples.

While the Kandy Esala Perahera is the most well-known religious festival in Sri Lanka, Colombo puts on more of a performance for the Navam Perahera. Dancers, fire-handlers, and over 100 decorated elephants come together to form a vibrant spectacle that ignites all of the senses.

The procession begins and ends at the towering Gangaramaya Temple which cannot be missed due to its sheer size, golden décor, and colourful adornments. Beira Lake is nextdoor with its gorgeous floating temple designed by the father of Sri Lankan architecture, Geoffrey Bawa.

When planning a Sri Lanka holiday for February which falls across Navam Poya Day, consider giving your guests a couple of nights in Colombo so they can witness this incredible festival first-hand.

The next major festivals celebrated in Colombo are the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in mid-April, and Vesak in May. We will be back then with more blogs to bring you the beauty and history of these Sri Lanka festivals.