April is peak season in Sri Lanka, because of good weather conditions all over the island and special opportunities to experience Sri Lankan traditions. April is the best month for safaris in Udawalawe national park and for whale watching between Galle and Tangalle.
April is Easter time for Christian travellers from abroad and also a traditional holiday month for Sri Lankans, because the Sinhalese and Tamil communities celebrate New Year mid of this month.
For nature lovers, April is the best whale watching month in Sri Lanka, especially at the south coast, where it is the final month of the whale watching season. We have a sepate blog article, where you can read more about Mirissa whale watching. But April also marks the beginning of Sri Lanka’s second whale watching season, namely at the East Coast, particularly near Trincomalee.
April is the period when Colombo empties out, because those who can afford to do so like to escape to the cooler climate of the highlands. Nuwara Eliya is the top upper class destination, offering various spare time activities in April, namely golf tournaments, pony races, motor cross races and hotel parties. Also flower shows are all held in Nuwara Eliya in April.
Furthermore, April marks the end of the Siri Pada (Adam’s Peak) pilgrimage season. Sri Pada is sacred to all four major religious groups in Sri Lanka, Buddhists and Hindus, but also Muslims and Christians. Only during the climbing season, which is from December full moon day till April full moon day, the stepped mountainside is lit by strip lights and the stalls along the stairways are opened and offer refreshments.
Good Friday is a national bank holiday in Sri Lanka, in favour of the Christian minority.
Bak Full Moon Day, April’s Buddhist Poya Day, will be held on the same day as the Christian Good Friday this year.
Sri Lankan New Year, called Aluth Avurudda in Sinhalese, is a double public holiday in the middle of the month. It is celebrated on two consecutive days, te 12th and 13th of April. Sinhalese and Tamil New Year is a time when families get together to conduct religious ceremonies to wish each other peace and prosperity for the next year. Celebrations sometimes equal western traditions with fireworks, particularly in cities. Traditional rituals can be seen primarily in rural areas.
An inofficial holiday is the so-called National Herbal Oil Anointing Ceremony, which is celebrated at the April New Moon, which marks the begin of the new Sinhalese Buddhist lunar year.
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