Sri Lanka is a country with rich cultural diversity and heritage. Sri Lankan culture includes a lot of customs and rituals, which dates back to more than 2000 years and were handed down from generation to generation. Sri Lanka is rich with colorful festivals, traditions which attracts thousands of tourists to the country each year. Religion has played an important role in molding the Sri Lankan culture and traditions. The country is home to different ethnic and religious groups who lives in harmony with shared values.
Sri Lankan culture if often reflected using art, architecture, sculptures, festivals and food which is often influenced by the prominent religions prevailing the country. The Sri Lankan way of life is very simple and is filled with humility and happiness. Hospitality is also one of the prominent characteristics of the Sri Lankan culture, making Sri Lanka one of the friendliest nations in the world.
There are numerous festivals in the country that reflects cultural values of the Sri Lankans. The Sinhala-Tamil New year festival in April is the most important cultural festival in the country. The festival marks the beginning of the New Year and the end of harvesting season. A lengthy holiday and a table full of oily traditional delicacies makes the New Year festival one of the long-awaited festivals in the country.
The May full moon poya day or Vesak is the most important religious celebration in Sri Lanka, where Buddhists celebrate the nativity, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha with many celebrations. Sri Lankans of every religion crowd the roads to enjoy Vesak decorations including pandals and lanterns and many a makeshift alm houses that line the roads offering every food item from beverages, dessert to main meals free of charge.
In August are the Esala festivals in Kandy and Kataragama. The Kataragama Esala Festival is a multi-religious festival where devotes use fire walking and extreme self-penance to shows their piety to Lord Kataragama. The Kandy Esala Perahera or the Dalanda Perahera is the largest cultural parade in the world and showcases the best of Sri Lankan dancing and music and the best of the domesticated tuskers in the country.