Public holidays in Sri Lanka:

Upcoming 2023 Public Holidays in Sri Lanka – Plan Your Sri Lankan Holidays Now



As you plan your 2023 travel itinerary, understanding the public holidays in Sri Lanka is essential for a memorable vacation. The country’s vibrant culture and rich traditions make holidays in Sri Lanka a time of celebration and reflection. From the widely observed full moon Poya days to the diverse festivals, there’s much to experience during these special occasions.



Sri Lanka Public Holidays 2023



In 2023, Sri Lanka boasts a calendar filled with national and religious holidays. This diverse mix of holidays reflects the country’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. Public holidays in Sri Lanka play a significant role in uniting communities and preserving cultural practices, making them unique opportunities for travelers to immerse themselves in local traditions. Understanding the list of upcoming public holidays in Sri Lanka will help you plan your visit effectively.


Overview of Public Holidays in Sri Lanka


The public holidays in Sri Lanka embody the country’s rich cultural heritage and religious significance. Many holidays are based on the lunar calendar, with full moon days, known as Poya days, being particularly important. Additionally, national festivals, such as the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and Christmas, are widely celebrated. Understanding the holiday calendar is crucial for those looking to experience the cultural tapestry of this beautiful island nation.


List of National Holidays in 2023


The upcoming national holidays in 2023 include significant dates such as Thai Pongal Day in January, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in April, Vesak Festival Day in May, and Christmas Day in December. With each holiday offering a unique cultural experience, visitors have the opportunity to witness and partake in traditional celebrations and festivities.


Bank Holidays in Sri Lanka


Understanding the bank holidays in Sri Lanka is imperative, especially for travelers needing the convenience of banking services during their visit. Recognizing the dates when banks and financial institutions are closed is crucial for planning activities and transactions during your stay in this enchanting island nation.



A small bunch of blue water lilies

Full Moon Poya Days



Full Moon Poya Days hold great significance in the cultural and religious calendar of Sri Lanka. These days are dedicated to spiritual observances and fostering virtues such as loving-kindness and compassion. For Buddhists, every Full Moon Poya Day marks key events in the life of Lord Buddha, offering an opportunity for devotees to engage in religious practices and reflect on teachings.


Significance of Full Moon Poya Days


Full Moon Poya Days are considered auspicious for Buddhists as they commemorate important milestones in the life of Lord Buddha, including his birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana (passing away). Observing Poya Days allows believers to engage in acts of devotion such as visiting temples, meditating, and participating in almsgiving, contributing to a sense of communal harmony and spiritual fulfillment.


Upcoming Full Moon Poya Days in 2023


The Full Moon Poya Days in 2023 provide visitors with the opportunity to witness traditional celebrations and spiritual practices. In this year, the Poya Days fall on the 14th of February, the 29th of April, the 29th of May, the 14th of November, and the 29th of December. These dates mark important moments in the Buddhist calendar and are observed with reverence and cultural festivities across the island.


How to Experience Poya Day Festivities


To fully immerse in the Poya Day festivities, travelers can partake in events at temples, where rituals and religious observances take place. From the early morning offering of flowers to the observance of sil (precepts) and Dhamma sermons, visitors can engage in the spiritual atmosphere and witness the cultural traditions upheld on Poya Days. It’s an opportunity to witness the essence of religious and cultural heritage in Sri Lanka.


Special Festival Days

Plan your visit to Sri Lanka to coincide with the country’s vibrant festival days for an immersive cultural experience. The upcoming Vesak Festival Day in April 2023 offers a profound insight into the Buddhist traditions and spiritual practices that are deeply rooted in Sri Lankan culture. It’s a time when the entire nation comes together to celebrate the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of Lord Buddha.

Celebrate Sri Lanka’s Independence Day in November 2023, a significant national holiday that commemorates the country’s freedom from colonial rule. The day is marked with patriotic events, flag-hoisting ceremonies, cultural performances, and parades, allowing visitors to witness the pride and unity of the Sri Lankan people.

Experience the joyous Christmas Day festivities in December 2023, as Sri Lanka comes alive with vibrant decorations, spirited carol singing, and a warm sense of community. From beautifully adorned churches to festive markets, the island offers a unique blend of traditional and contemporary celebrations during this special time of year.

Planning Your Trip to Sri Lanka

Determining the best time to visit Sri Lanka for a holiday is crucial for an enjoyable and fulfilling travel experience. With its tropical climate, the period from December to March is ideal for exploring the western and southern coasts, while the east coast is best visited from April to September. Consider these seasonal variations when planning your itinerary.

When choosing the right accommodation for your holidays in Sri Lanka, consider the diverse options available, ranging from luxurious beach resorts to charming boutique hotels and eco-friendly villas nestled in picturesque landscapes. Selecting accommodation that aligns with your preferences and travel plans will enhance your overall holiday experience.

Make the most of public holidays in Sri Lanka by familiarizing yourself with the cultural and religious significance of these occasions. Participating in local festivities, visiting historical sites, and engaging with the warm and hospitable locals are wonderful ways to immerse yourself in the rich heritage and traditions of this enchanting island nation.

Q: What are the upcoming public holidays in Sri Lanka for 2023?

A: The upcoming public holidays in Sri Lanka for 2023 include New Year’s Day on January 1st, Tamil Thai Pongal Day on January 14th, Sinhala and Tamil New Year on April 14th and 15th, and National Day on February 4th and November 4th.

Q: Are employees entitled to a paid holiday on public holidays in Sri Lanka?

A: Yes, employees are generally entitled to a paid holiday on public holidays in Sri Lanka. However, the discretion of granting the holiday lies with the employer.

Q: Are businesses and shops closed on Poya days in Sri Lanka?

A: Yes, on Poya days, which are important Buddhist religious holidays, shops and businesses are generally closed in Sri Lanka.

Q: What are the major holidays celebrated by Muslims in Sri Lanka?

A: The major holidays celebrated by Muslims in Sri Lanka include Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Milad-un-Nabi (the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad).

Q: How long does the celebration of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka last?

A: The celebration of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka generally lasts for 12 days, though the public holiday is observed on April 14th and 15th.

Q: When is the Vas season in Sri Lanka?

A: The Vas season, which is an important time for Buddhists where monks engage in religious activities, generally takes place in the month of Ramadan.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages during public holidays in Sri Lanka?

A: Yes, on public holidays in Sri Lanka, there are restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages, and the majority of shops and businesses are closed. This includes days like Poya days and other significant religious holidays.

Q: Can tourists and visitors expect any useful services during public holidays in Sri Lanka?

A: While some services may be limited, tourists and visitors can still expect to access essential and useful services, particularly in areas popular with tourists and at major hotels.

Q: Is it common for employers to require employees to work on public holidays in Sri Lanka?

A: While it is generally discouraged, in certain sectors like healthcare, hospitality, and essential services, employers may require workers to work on public holidays in Sri Lanka.

Q: Where can I find official updates and information on public holidays in Sri Lanka?

A: Official information and updates on public holidays in Sri Lanka can be found on government websites, at embassy offices, and also by consulting local authorities and official sources.