As the august moon waxes in the Buddisdt month of esala, the streets of Kandy erupt in a ten-day-long pageant, which few can match in antiquity, grandeur or barbaric splendour, young man mortify their flesh while fulfilling vows to the Hindu god Skandha by walking ‘’in harness’’with spikes in their backs accompanied by a fabulous procession.
The procession includes fire-juggling acrobats, sumptuously-decorated elephants, traditional dancers, oboe-tooting musicians, banners,palanquins,whip crackers,torch bearers and thousands of barefoot pilgrims and swordsmen.To top it off,all he has happened every since about 300AD.
The action is made even more mesmerizing because it happens at night.The old cannon booms after dusk and the perahera (paraders)take to the streets for ten nights,with the parades growing ever longer each night until the final night of pageantry when the parade is at the finest.
The festival is a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs and is dedicated not just to Skandha but also to Buddha.It is held to invoke the blessing of the gods or rain,fertility,successful crops and good health. Elephant feature heavily as they are symbols of abundance and fertility- the ‘’clouds who walk the earth’’ instrumental in attracting the vital rain for harvest time.
Dates of the Kandy Esala Perahera 2016
8th Aug 2016 to 18th Aug 2016.
(Subject to change).
Date and Event
3rd or 5th Aug 2016- Kapsituvima (Planting of the ‘Kapa’)
3rd or 5th Aug 2016 to 7th Aug 2016- Internal Perahera of Four Devales
8th Aug 2016- 1st Kumbal Perahera
9thAug 2016 – 2nd Kumbal Perahera
10th Aug 2016- 3rd Kumbal Perahera
11th Aug 2016- 4th Kumbal Perahera
12th Aug 2016- 5th Kumbal Perahera
13th Aug 2016- 1st Randoli Perahera
14th Aug 2016- 2nd Randoli Perahera
15th Aug 2016- 3rd Randoli Perahera
16th Aug 2016- 4th Randoli Perahera
17th Aug 2016- 5th Randoli Perahera
18th Aug 2016- Day Perahera(Water Cutting Ceremony “Diya Kepeema”)