Public Holidays in Sri Lanka 2020

2019 is flying by, real fast, real soon. Most public holidays happened over the weekend, or it occurred during the mid-week, which was a bummer. Even the 2020 New Year will fall on a mid-week, which makes it a bit hard to organize any long getaways. But, fret not. Although the 2020 New Year is happening on a Wednesday, you will be glad to know the number of public holidays that fall during the extended weekend. So, here we have a compiled list of all public holidays in Sri Lanka, including long weekends, for you to plan your trip to your bucket list destinations, in advance!

Holidays in January in Sri Lanka

January 10 January (Friday): Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day

January 11 (Saturday): Weekend

January 12 (Sunday): Weekend

January 13 (Monday): Take an off

January 14 (Tuesday): Take an off

January 15 (Wednesday): Tamil Thai Pongal Day

Why not use those sick leaves and take time off from work on Monday and Tuesday and go on a week-long vacation? You can head to Sri Lanka for the week!

Things to do in January 2020

Thai Pongal, Colombo - January 15: 

This harvest festival brings devotees together to temples including Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil and Sri Muthumariamman Kovil, which ultimately transforms into a colourful, vibrant, and lively atmosphere. 

Holidays in February in Sri Lanka

February 4 February (Tuesday): Independence Day

February 8 (Saturday): Navam Full Moon Poya Day

February 21 (Friday): Mahashivratri

February 22 (Saturday): Weekend

February 24 (Sunday): Weekend

Boasting one of the best weather in Sri Lanka, not too hot, not too cold, it makes for the ideal time to either go on a beach getaway or a hill station over the two long weekends you will be blessed with through this month.

Things to do in February 2020 

Independence Day, Colombo - February 4: 

Upon breaking free from the British on February 4, 1948, Sri Lanka celebrates its national day throughout the country. Although a public celebration, it is highly revered in the capital city, Colombo. On this day, the Sri Lankan President hoists the flag, followed by a speech. There will be other public figures present during the event. The main ceremony features a military parade, with an aircraft and tanks. You will sometimes find elephants marching along with the parade along with other cultural performances, dance and music shows.

Holidays in March in Sri Lanka

9th March (Monday): Madin Full Moon Poya Day 

Things to do in March 2020

Although March doesn't bring about many public holidays, you can still use the long weekend to get away from the city. There are plenty of places to explore in March. You can head to a jungle safari, go trekking in the tea estates or have an adventure underwater. 

Holidays in April in Sri Lanka

7th April (Tuesday): Bak Full Moon Poya Day

April 10 (Friday): Good Friday

April 11 (Saturday): Weekend

April 12 (Sunday): Day before Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day

April 13 (Monday): Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day

If you plan on taking sick leave on April 6 (Monday), then you get three weekends in April. You can either plan a local trip nearby or head to Colombo to spend Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day.

Things to do in April 2020 

Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Colombo - April 13 - April 15:

A joyous occasion, Sinhala and Tamil New Year are celebrated by both Sri Lankan Tamil community and Sinhalese community to ensure the festival brings them great harvest, prosperity, and happiness. The common ritual here features bathing during the last day of the old year and moon watching before the new year begins. The temples are filled with drumbeat sounds, and the locals visit the temples to receive blessings and pay their respects to the monks. Visitors get to relish in Sri Lankan dish, pastries, and so many more. Along with this, visitors can indulge in plenty of traditional races, games, contests, and so much more. 

Holidays in May in Sri Lanka

May 1 May (Friday): May Day

May 2 (Saturday): Weekend

May 3 (Sunday): Weekend

May 7 (Thursday): Vesak Full Moon Poya Day

May 8 (Friday): Day following Vesak Full Moon Poya Day

May 9 (Saturday): Weekend

May 10 (Sunday): Weekend

May 25 (Monday): Id Ul-Fitr 

Things to do in May 2020 

With full moons happening every month, Sri Lankan citizens can enjoy several trips either locally or internationally. The number of extended weekend vacations May brings in is plenty! So why not book your mini-vacation to the neighbouring country, India, maybe to Ladakh, or any other Asian countries? Nuwara Eliya is also perfect if you want to take a vacation locally. 

Holidays in June in Sri Lanka

5th June (Friday): Poson Full Moon Poya Day

June 6 (Saturday): Weekend

June 7 (Sunday): Weekend 

June, sadly, only boasts one holiday. But, on the bright side, it falls on a Friday, which makes it easier to plan a quick weekend getaway nearby. If you are planning for a getaway, make sure you head to Mihintale in Sri Lanka for the annual Poson Poya celebration. 

Things to do in June 2020 

Poson Poya, Mihintale - June 6: 

An annual festival organized by the Buddhists from Sri Lanka, Poson Poya celebrates the rise of Buddhism in the teardrop island in 236 BC. The festival also marks the occasion of the full moon (Poya), which is the second important holiday for the Buddhists, first being the Vesak. During the festival, visitors can enjoy lighting paper lanterns, and watch dance and music performances. 

Holidays in July in Sri Lanka

4th July (Saturday): Esala Full Moon Poya Day

July seems to be the saddest month when it comes to public holidays or even the long weekend. But it is not completely bad news. Because there are plenty of festivals that one can take part during the month. 

Things to do in July 2020 

Colombo Aadi Vel Festival, Colombo - July 25: 

Held during the last week of July, Colombo Aadi Vel Festival is the most important festival in the Tamil community of Sri Lanka. The festival honours the Hindu war god, Lord Muruga, also called Skanda. During the festival, devotees and visitors take part in processions, ringing bells, perform Kavadi dances, and tons more. The bizarre highlight of the festival includes rituals performed by devotees by piercing their cheeks and multiple other body parts. 

Kandy Esala Perahera, Kandy - July 25: 

Renowned as the Festival of the Tooth, Kandy Esala Perahera, is one of the biggest Buddhist holidays in Sri Lanka. Depending on the star and other astrological beliefs, the festival is held either in July or August each year. The highlights of the festival feature traditional dance performances, water-cutting ceremony, and decorated elephants, among others. 

The Katharagama Esala Festival, Kataragama - July 26: 

This two-week-long annual festival, the Katharagama Esala Festival features devotees pulling chariots and many other sights of devotees piercing their body parts. 

Holidays in August in Sri Lanka

August 1 August (Saturday): Id Ul-Alha

August 2 (Sunday): Weekend

August 3 (Monday): Nikini Full Moon Poya Day 

Things to do in August 2020

August seems to make up for the holidays that you couldn't take in July. The best part about this month's public holidays is the fact that you won't have to take any off days at all. You can take a beach vacation to Trincomalee, or go chill in the hill at Ella. There are plenty of beautiful places to go on a long weekend away in Sri Lanka.

Holidays in September in Sri Lanka

September 31 August (Monday): Take an off

September 1 (Tuesday): Binara Full Moon Poya Day 

Things to do in September 2020

You'd get one extended weekend, only if you take sick leave on Monday. And when you do, make sure you explore the Maldives. The cold, turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, stunning sunsets, and the astounding underwater world. Looks breathtaking in your head, doesn't it? If you thought the Maldives is an expensive country, we have news for you. September is known to be a low season which results in meagre prices in the airfares, accommodations, etc.

Holidays in October in Sri Lanka

1st October (Thursday): Adhi Vap Full Moon Poya Day

October 2 (Friday): Take an off

October 30 (Friday): Vap Full Moon Poya Day

October 30 (Friday): Milad un-Nabi

Things to do in October 2020

October brings another extended weekend, thanks to another Full Moon day. This month is perfect for exploring one of the Himalayan countries - Nepal. Go on a three-night four-day vacation to Kathmandu and Pokhara in Nepal either with your family or friends. You have options to explore the city and go on a day trek in the villages or the mountains. This vacation is perfect for taking that much-needed breather you were craving for amidst nature. And for the mini-weekend getaway during the last week of October, you could head to either Dikwella, Tangalle, or Mirissa and go surfing.

Holidays in November in Sri Lanka

November 14 November (Saturday): Deepavali

November 29 (Sunday): Ill Full Moon Poya Day

Things to do in November 2020

One of the biggest and best festivals in both India and Sri Lanka, the festival of lights, Deepavali falls on a weekend. You can still make the most out of it by taking one day break either on a Friday or a Monday on both the public holidays and head to any of the hill stations, beach destinations, or both. 

Holidays in December in Sri Lanka

December 25 December (Friday): Christmas

December 28 (Monday): Take an off

December 29 (Tuesday): Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day

Things to do in December 2020 

It's December! And 'tis the season! The holiday season brings you a five-day-long holiday, which means you can take that much-awaited Christmas vacation to any European destination. How about Prague, Croatia, Budapest, or even Vienna? These are some of the best destinations in Europe to experience the magic of Christmas. Although the ticket prices shoot way up through the roof during the holiday season, it doesn't mean you should skip these beautiful destinations. Now that you know on which day the holiday falls, you can advance-book your flight tickets to your favourite choice.

Holidays keep us sane. They keep us motivated. With all the planning involved to go on any getaways, local and international, they keep us looking forward to something to wake up to, besides work and other responsibilities. And we know how clueless one can get while planning a sudden trip, out-of-the-blue. Hence, to make your challenge a tad bit easier, we have listed down all the public holidays in Sri Lanka, including the extended weekend options, so you plan and start saving up for all your much-needed vacations.

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