Navam Poya ෴ නවම් පොහොය

Navam Full Moon Poya is marked with a public holiday in Sri Lanka. This poya day is usually celebrated on the first full moon in February, though in some years it can take place in late January.

Traditions of Navam Full Moon Poya

This full moon has special significance for Buddhists in Sri Lanka as it marks two important events. The first commemorates the appointment of Sariputta (Sariyuth) and Moggallana (Mugalan) as the first two chief disciples (Aggasavakes) of Gautama Buddha. Navam Poya also commemorates the first-ever Buddhist Council, held three months after the death of the Buddha. It was here where the Vinaya (the code of fundamental ethics for Buddhist monks) was proclaimed based on the teachings that the Buddha had passed onto his disciples.

In 1979, the first Navam Perahera (parade) took place at the Gangaramaya temple in Colombo. This perahera has grown to become one of the most popular and important pageants in Sri Lanka. The parade features hundreds of beautifully decorated elephants accompanied by whip crackers, fire dancers, flag bearers, traditional dancers and musicians.

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