Binara Poya

This public holiday in Sri Lanka takes place on the full moon day of Binara, the sixth month in the Sinhalese calendar.

It usually falls in September in the Western calendar.

History of Binara Full Moon Poya

On Binara Poya, Sri Lankan Buddhists commemorate the establishment of the Bhikkhuni Sasanaya (Bhikkhuni Sangha) or Order of the Female Buddhist Monastic. The very first bhikkuni ordained was the stepmother of Buddha, Mahapajapathi Gothami.

Mahapajapathi Gothami was the younger sister of Queen Maha Maya, the mother of Buddha. The Queen died a week after the birth of Buddha and the prince was raised by Mahapajapathi Gothami who subsequently married Buddha's father King Suddodhana, becoming his stepmother.

The Vas season (Rainy-retreat) continues during the month of Binara, so the bhikkuni remain in their monasteries, engaged in meditation.

A highlight of Binara Poya is a Perahara (Procession) at Mahiyangana. The Veddah people (the indigenous people of Sri Lanka) are part of the procession and perform their own dance to mark the poya. The Mahiyangana Stupa was built to mark the location of Buddha's first visit to Sri Lanka.

Other Poya days

1. Duruthu Poya (Jan) 2. Navam Poya (Feb) 3. Medin Poya (Mar) 4. Bak Poya (Apr) 5. Vesak Poya (May) 6. Poson Poya (Jun) 7. Esala Poya (Jul) 8. Nikini Poya (Aug) 9. Binara Poya (Sep) 10. Vap Poya (Oct) 11. Il Poya (Nov) 12. Unduvap Poya (Dec)