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Poson Full Moon Poya

National and public holidays in Sri Lanka Public Holiday in Sri Lanka

Poson Full Moon Poya commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by the Buddhist monk Mahinda in the 3rd century B.C.
Detail from a temple at Mihintale, Sri Lanka

When is Poson Full Moon Poya?

How long until Poson Full Moon Poya ?
This holiday next takes place in 147 Days.
Dates of Poson Full Moon Poya
Year Weekday Date
2020 Saturday June 6th
2019 Sunday June 16th
2018 Wednesday June 27th
2017 Thursday June 8th
2016 Sunday June 19th
Duration
1 Day
Summary
Commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Mahinda

This public holiday in Sri Lanka takes place on the full moon day of Poson, the seventh month in the Sinhalese calendar. It usually falls in June in the Western calendar.

History of Poson Full Moon Poya

Poson Poya is second only in importance to Vesak and commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by the Buddhist missionary monk Mahinda in the 3rd century B.C.

Mahinda met King Devanampiyatissa at Mihintale, a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, and preached the first sermon. This is why Mihintale is often called 'the cradle of Buddhism' in Sri Lanka.

Although Poson is celebrated across Sri Lanka, the main event is a mass pilgrimage to Anuradhapura, while thousands of white-robed pilgrims climb to the summit of Mihintale to the spot where Mahinda gave his first sermon.

Poson is a very religious festival and temples on the island are filled with devotees and pilgrims to mark this great event. Others may perform religious activities like reading holy books or listen to monks tell stories about Buddha's life.

During the Poson Festival, the selling of alcohol and meat is usually prohibited.

What are Poya?

Every full moon (usually one a month) is a public holiday in Sri Lanka. Each of the full moons have its own name and they are days to commemorate key events in Buddhism.

These full moon days are known as Poya. The Poya dates will change each year and certain Poya dates may be a day before or after the date of the full moon.

On Poya days, shops and businesses will usually close and the sale of alcohol and meat is forbidden.


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