Poson Full Moon Poya Day in Sri Lanka
Poson Full Moon Poya Day, known as "Poson Poya" in the local Sinhalese language, is a significant religious and cultural event in Sri Lanka. It is observed on the full moon day of the month of June and marks the arrival of Buddhism in the island nation. The exact date of Poson Poya varies each year, as it is based on the lunar calendar and depends on the occurrence of the full moon.
The history of Poson Full Moon Poya Day dates back to the 3rd century BCE, when the Indian emperor Ashoka sent his son, Arahat Mahinda Thero, to Sri Lanka to spread the teachings of Buddhism. Arahat Mahinda Thero arrived on the island on the full moon day of Poson, and his teachings were embraced by King Devanampiyatissa, who became the first Buddhist ruler of Sri Lanka. This event marked the beginning of a long-lasting relationship between Sri Lanka and Buddhism, which has shaped the country's culture, heritage, and way of life.
National customs for Poson Full Moon Poya Day in Sri Lanka
On Poson Poya, Buddhists in Sri Lanka attend various religious activities at temples and shrines across the country. They observe Sil, a practice that involves observing the Eight Precepts and meditating to purify their minds. Devotees also engage in offering flowers, lighting oil lamps, and participating in Bodhi Pooja, a special prayer ceremony for the sacred Bodhi tree, which symbolizes the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
Another significant aspect of Poson Poya is the preparation and distribution of "Dansal," a form of alms-giving where people offer free food and drinks to the public. This act of generosity and compassion is considered an important part of Buddhist practice and helps to strengthen the bonds within the community.
Local customs for Poson Full Moon Poya Day in Sri Lanka
Mihintale, a mountain peak near the ancient city of Anuradhapura, is considered the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, as it is where Arahat Mahinda Thero first encountered King Devanampiyatissa. Every year during Poson Poya, thousands of pilgrims flock to Mihintale to pay homage and participate in religious activities. The Mihintale Aloka Pooja, a spectacular event that involves illuminating the entire mountain with thousands of oil lamps, is one of the highlights of the Poson Poya celebrations.
In addition to Mihintale, other significant Buddhist sites such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Kandy also hold special events and ceremonies during Poson Poya. These may include processions, cultural performances, and the display of sacred relics.
Poson Full Moon Poya Day is a significant event in Sri Lanka that commemorates the arrival of Buddhism and its subsequent impact on the nation's culture and heritage. The day is marked by a range of religious and cultural activities, which serve to strengthen the bonds within the Buddhist community and promote the values of compassion, generosity, and self-discipline. As such, Poson Poya stands as a symbol of Sri Lanka's enduring connection to Buddhism and its teachings.