This year Poson Festival will be celebrated on June 21. The day, also known as Poson Festival, is a public holiday in Sri Lanka. It falls on the full moon day of Poson, which is the seventh month of the Sinhalese calendar. The holiday depends on natural occurrences and its date varies, although it is commonly celebrated in June. It is a highly religious event that commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Buddhists celebrate the day with music, dancing, and relating stories by giving away food and tea. Poson Day is second only in importance to Vesak in Sri Lanka.
History of Poson Festival
Poson Festival marks the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by a Buddhist monk called Arahat Mahinda in 236 B.C. One of the central points of the event is a Buddhist monastery on the mountain Mihintale, where Mahinda converted the King of Sri Lanka. His conversion to Buddhism led to the construction of many Buddhist sites and learning centers around the capital. It helped form an official connection between Buddhism and Sri Lanka. The relationship contributed to the spread of Buddhism on the island but resulted in ethnic tensions and hostilities, which developed into a major civil war in 1983. The conflict lasted for over 20 years, resulting in many casualties on both sides.
Sri Lanka is said to maintain the oldest Buddhist civilization. This religion, however, has had moments of descent, one being the time Sri Lanka was a British Colony. Heightened Christian missionary activities and British rule diminished the prominence and influence of Buddhist monks and conventional learning centers. Faithful restorationists fought to restore Buddhism’s place on the island and expel the British.
Sri Lanka’s independence was declared in 1948, and in May 1957, the country held a national event to commemorate its 2,500-year anniversary of Buddhism. The religious zeal that preceded the event led to the creation of new Buddhist institutions and centers of knowledge, restoring Buddhism to the heart of the nation. Poson Poya celebrations center around Buddhist sites in the mountains of Mihintale and Anuradhapura. During Poson, thousands of pilgrims from Sri Lanka flock to these locations. They dress in white and worship in the spiritual areas.
Poson Festival timeline
Mahinda, a Buddhist monk introduces Buddhism to Sri Lanka.
Civil war breaks out in Sri Lanka due to ethnic and religious tensions.
Sri Lanka becomes an independent state.
Sri Lanka commemorates its 2,500-year anniversary of Buddhism.
Poson Festival FAQs
Why is Poson Poya special?
Poson Poya is special because it marks the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
What is the meaning of Poya?
Poya means full moon in the Sinhala language.
Who is the main leader of Sri Lanka?
The President of Sri Lanka is incumbent Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he was elected on 18 November 2019.
How to Observe Poson Festival
Go on a pilgrimage or watch events online
You can visit the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and pray in the temples. If you can’t go to Sri Lanka, watch the various festivities online, such as the Colorful Buddhist Flag-Wrapping Ceremony.
Light a candle or hang a lantern
It is part of Poson Day custom to hang a lantern or light some candles while meditating or saying prayers. Spending time in quiet contemplation is a rewarding way to observe the holiday.
Celebrate on social media
You can post about the holiday on social media. It’s a good way to show friends that you are also celebrating Poson Full Moon Poya.
5 Interesting Facts About Sri Lanka, Buddhism, And Poson Festival
Buddhism is far-reaching
Surveys show that 70% of Sinhalese people practice Buddhism.
The country survived civil war
About 100,000 people died in the civil war that lasted in Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009.
Presidential pardon during Poson Poya
At the 2021 Poson Poya event, 93 inmates were pardoned by the President of Sri Lanka as is common with custom practice.
The originator of Buddhism was royalty
Arahat Mahinda, the monk who introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka, was the son of an Indian king.
Buddhism is now a widespread faith
Sri Lanka has about 6,000 Buddhist monasteries that are home to about 15,000 monks.
Why Poson Festival is Important
We appreciate Buddhist monks
Poson Day makes it possible for us to honor Buddhist monks and show appreciation for their teachings and impact on our society. It is a once-in-a-while opportunity to do so.
It teaches about Buddhism
Events like the Poson Festival inform people about Buddhism. It gives others the opportunity to learn more about their beliefs.
It’s a sacred event
A Poson pilgrimage is a sacred event observed by many devotees. We love to explore historical sites filled with spiritual significance.
Poson Festival dates