Four Festivals

Four Main Festivals of the Temple of Tooth Relic

Besides the daily services (Theva), there are also weekly and annual poojas and rituals dedicated for the Sacred Tooth Relic which has been continuously carried out since ancient to present times. Some rituals are in place to bless the agricultural based country with timely rains & prosperity. Among these numerous festivals, the New Harvest Festival in January (Duruthu), the New Year Festival in April (Bak), Esala Perahera Festival in July or August (Esala or Nikini) and Karthika Festival in November are considered as the four main traditional festivals of the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic.

Festival of New Rice (New Harvest Festival)

This Festival is held in the month of January and this is the last festival for the year as per Sinhala calendar. A milk rice prepared using the first harvest of paddy is offered to the Sacred Tooth Relic. In the ancient times the King officiated this ceremony and measuring and distribution of rice was done by the King himself. At present the lay custodian of the Sacred Tooth Relic Diyawadana Nilame attend to this. He distributes rice to 91 temples and Devalas and the rest is distributed according to the 2nd and 3rd list. From the first harvest of rice, 80 Serus (an ancient traditional measurement) of milk rice is offered to the sacred tooth Relic on the Duruthu Full Moon Poya day.

New Year Festival

New Year Festival is celebrated in the month of April which is considered as a festive month. It is the first festival for the year as per the Sinhala calendar. Mohottala (a term used for an Officer) prepares all the auspicious times for the temple and other Devalas and also observe the times and rituals. Offering of Pooja to the Sacred Tooth Relic is a daily ritual. But on the New year Festival everything is offered according to the auspicious times and have five main activities. Dawn of the New Year holy bath, boiling of milk, preparing food items and oil anointing ceremony which is held at the Natha Devala on the Wednesday following the new year day. All these activities are followed for abundance of prosperity to the country & its people.
The Esala Perahara Festival
The Second annual festival of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is the Esala Perahara. This is considered the “ Most Historic Cultural Event in the World”. For more information on Esala Perahera, please visit..

Karthika Festival

The third festival of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is “Karthika” festival. It is celebrated in the month of November by having a beautiful Perahera on parade followed by lighted oil lamps being offered to the Sacred Tooth Relic once night falls. This resembles the Hindu “ Dipawali Festival” and its believed “Karthika” festival was influenced by the South Indian Nayakkar kings. The chief organizer of this festival is the Diyawadana Nilame. In ancient times the oil for the “Karthika’ festival was distributed by the King, following the same custom the oil is provided by Sri Dalada Maligawa to the four main devala and other listed rural temples and devala. The oil is distributed by Kariyakaravana Korala.

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This post is also available in: සිංහල (Sinhala)