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Public Holidays and Festivals (Sri Lanka)

If you are travelling within the below Sri Lankan Public Holidays, please note that celebrations can last a couple of days and during these times some businesses will be closed. Coach, air and train travel may be affected. Tourist attractions will be open but may be crowded.

Public Holidays and Observances (2024)

Mon, 15 Jan - Tamil Thai Pongal Day

Thu, 25 Jan - Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day

Sun, 4 Feb - National Day also known as Independence Day

Sat, 24 Feb - Navam Full Moon Poya Day

Fri, 8 Mar - Mahasivarathri Day

Sun, 24 Mar - Madin Full Moon Poya Day

Fri, 29 Mar - Good Friday

Wed, 10 Apr - Id UI-Fitr

Fri, 12 Apr - Day prior to Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day

Sat, 13 Apr - Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day

Tue, 23 Apr - Bak Full Moon Poya Day

Wed, 01 May - May Day

Thu, 23 May - Vesak Full Moon Poya Day

Fri, 24 May - Day following Vesak Full Moon Poya Day

Mon, 17 Jun - Id UI-Alha

Fri, 21 Jun - Poson Full Moon Poya Day

Sat, 20 Jul - Esala Full Moon Poya Day

Mon, 19 Aug - Nikini Full Moon Poya Day

Mon, 16 Sep - Milad un-Nabi

Tue, 17 Sep - Binara Full Moon Poya Day

Thu, 17 Oct - Vap Full Moon Poya Day

Thu, 31 Oct - Deepavali

Fri, 15 Nov - III Full Moon Poya Day

Sat, 14 Dec - Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day

Wed, 25 Dec - Christmas Day

National Day - also know as Independence Day

Sri Lanka gained independence from British colonial rule on February 4th, 1948, marking a significant milestone in the country's history. This momentous event is now celebrated as a national annual holiday throughout Sri Lanka. Independence Day holds great importance and is commemorated with various festivities across the country.

On this special day, Sri Lankans proudly showcase their patriotism and unity. The streets come alive with vibrant parades, cultural performances, and colorful decorations. Schools, government buildings, and public spaces are adorned with the national flag, creating a festive atmosphere.

The celebrations typically begin with the hoisting of the national flag and the singing of the national anthem. This is followed by speeches by prominent leaders and dignitaries, highlighting the achievements and progress of the nation since gaining independence. Cultural shows, traditional music, and dance performances further add to the joyful spirit of the day.

In addition to the official ceremonies, communities organize various events and activities to celebrate Independence Day. These include sports competitions, exhibitions showcasing Sri Lankan arts and crafts, and food festivals featuring traditional cuisine


Poya is a monthly public holiday in Sri Lanka that holds great significance for the Buddhist community. These special days commemorate important moments in Buddhism, both in Sri Lankan Buddhism and the religion as a whole. Each Poya day has its own unique importance and is observed with religious ceremonies and rituals.

During Poya days, Buddhists in Sri Lanka engage in various religious activities such as visiting temples, offering alms to monks, and participating in meditation and prayer sessions. These celebrations provide devotees with an opportunity to deepen their spiritual practice and reflect on the teachings of Buddha.

Poya days are not only religious occasions but also cultural events that bring communities together. People decorate their homes and streets with colorful lanterns and Buddhist flags, creating a festive atmosphere. In many parts of the country, special events and processions are organized, showcasing traditional music, dance, and cultural performances.


On these public holidays, some businesses may be closed, and public transportation, including coach, air, and train travel, may be affected. However, tourist attractions remain open, although they may be crowded with both locals and visitors.

Understanding and respecting the significance of these celebrations will allow visitors to fully appreciate the rich cultural heritage and religious traditions of Sri Lanka.