Aluth Avurudda festival marks Sinhalese New Year, and is celebrated throughout Sri Lanka by both Sinhalese and non-believers. It coincides with many New Year events across Asia, falling on the 13th or 14th of April. On the first day of the new year, there are mass housecleaning sessions along with fire lighting, dancing and music.
During the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year period, when the heat is at its worst, many of Colombo’s residents head to the hills for a break. This tradition, stretching back to the British colonial times, is comprised of two fun-filled weeks of sport, car rallies, flower exhibitions, music and parties that go on well into the night.
Every year, thousands of pilgrims make the lofty journey to the summit of Adam’s Peak, or Samanalakande (Butterfly Mountain). Starting from Poya Day (in December) and running all the through to Vesak Festival in May the following year, worshippers don their walking boots for the grueling 7,000-foot climb to the peak’s Buddhist temple.