January: Duruthu Perehara in Kelaniya
Situated six miles from Colombo, the ancient Kelani Raja Maha Viharaya with a history that dates back nearly 2,563 years stands beside the Kelani River. According to the Mahavamsa, Lord Buddha stopped at this ancient temple during a visit to Sri Lanka in 523 BC where he was invited to preach at the invitation of the king. Each year, on the full moon day of January, the annual procession known as the `Duruthu Perahera' is held. The procession displays the ancient traditions, cultural heritage, traditional folklore, folk music and the rhythmic dance forms and drum beats, which have developed throughout the ages around Buddhism and Buddhist practices in the island.
February: Navam Perehara in Colombo
Colombo's streets come alive in February for the `Navam Perehara' organised by the Gangaramaya Temple located in the heart of the city. This colourful procession displays traditional folklore, music and the rhythmic dance forms. Dancers, drummers and flag bearers represent the different provinces from across the island. Chieftains in traditional attire and scores of elephants dressed in glittering cloaks are all a part of this colourful pageant in honour of Lord Buddha.
July: Kataragama Perehara
The Kataragama Perehara held in honour of the warrior God of Kataragama is a fascinating experience. Held during the month of Esala in July, Kataragama becomes even more intriguing and full of sound and colour when the Perehara is held for two weeks in honour of God Skandha, the warrior god of Kataragama. The perehara depicts Hindu folklore, music and dance forms, as well as fire walking in sacrifice and devotion to God Kataragama.
August: Kandy Perehara
On the Esala full moon day of August each year, the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, encased in a golden casket, is taken in procession, on the back of the temple elephant along the streets of Kandy for all to see. This ritual, which has been taking place for hundreds of years, is an experience of a lifetime. Scores of elephants all dressed in their finery, Kandyan chiefs in their traditional royal attire, thousands of dancers, drummers, flag bearers, and Buddhist monks, all walk in procession in honour of Lord Buddha. Thousands of people line the streets of Kandy to get a glimpse of the golden casket and to pay homage to Lord Buddha.