Similar to other Full Moon Days, the Il Poya Day commemorates more than one event of Buddhist history.
The human being believed to be the future Buddha, Metteyya, in one of his previous incarnations was born in Sankassa during the lifetime of the last Buddha. On an Il Poya Day he donated one of his two very valuable robes to the Buddha, who in return predicted the pious monk would become another Buddha in a future incarnatation. First of all, Il Poya Full Moon Day commemorates this prediction.
Il Poya Day also marks the beginning of Buddhist missions by sending out sixty enlightened disciples of the Buddha. On an Il Full Moon Poya Day, the Buddha ordained the three Jatilas brothers and their 1000 followers, who formerly belonged to a different sect, they attained the enlightened status of an Arahant already on the very same day. On another Il Poya Day, the most distinguished of the disciples, Sariputta, passed away already before the Parinibbana of the Buddha.
Usually the annual rainy season retreat of Buddhist monks, which is of less importance for present-days monastic life, is considered to be the period between Esala and Vas Poya Days (July to October), but some Sri Lankans celebrate Il Poya Full Moon Day in November as the end of the rainy season retreat. Accordingly, in many Buddhist temples, the offering of new robes to the monks, a ceremony called "Katina Cheevaraya", takes place during the month of Il, of which the Il Poya Day marks the beginning.
all Sri Lanka blog articles
by region, by topic
and A-Z here...