Tomorrow is the last Full Moon Day in 2014. It is Unduvap Poya day according to the Sinhala Buddhist calendar. (It’s also spelt Unduwap.)
Unduvap in Sri Lanka commemorates the arrival of th Bo-Tree, which grows in Anuradhapura till the present day. It was a sapling of the sacred Jayasiri Maha Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya in India. According to the Mahavamsa chronicle, the sapling was a gift of the Buddhist Emperor Ashoka and was brought to Sri Lanka by his daughter Sanghamitta, who had entered the Buddhist nuns order (Bikkhuni Sasana) already at the age of 18 years and introduced the female ordination line on the island. Sanghamitta Theri’s brother Mahinda Thero had introduced Buddhism in Sri Lanka on a Poson Poya Day. Mahinda’s arrival marks the beginning and his sisiter`s arrival on a Unduvap Poya Day is a kind of conclusion of the establishment of Buddhist monastic traditions in Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese culture. Not surprisingly, Anuradhapura and the Bo-Tree in particular is a focal point of Unduvap celebrations.
Unduvap Poya Day is of significance for another famous pilgrimage site, too. It is celebrated at Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak), marking the beginning of the five-months pilgrimage season. Weather conditions at the Holy Mountain of Sri Lanka are always difficult to predict but less rainy between December and May, when Wesak Poya marks the end of the pilgrimage season. The peak pilgrimage season to Siri Pada is in April.
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