Binara Poya Day in Sri Lanka on September 19
Binara Poya Day is a public holiday in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, Poya Day is a Buddhist public holiday. A full moon day is called a Poya. In the month of September Binara Full Moon Poya Day celebrates the Buddha’s visit to heaven. It was during this visit in heaven that the Buddha preached to his mother and to the heavenly multitude.
History of Binara Poya Day in Sri Lanka
Even before the birth of Buddhism, Asian monks in the ancient times, when calendars were not invented yet, cease worldly pursuits and engage in religious activities during full moon days. Later, the Buddha adopted this practice. This practice developed the preaching of the Buddhist texts and commentaries in the monasteries and temples on full moon Poya days.
The Venerable Arahat Mahinda Thero introduced Buddhism to this country in 247 BC and he introduced the Poya tradition. All around the world the Full moon is important to Buddhists. The Buddhists have adopted the Lunar Calendar for their religious observances. Owing to the moon’s fullness as well as its radiant beauty, the Poya day is treated as the most auspicious of the lunar phases.
A poya day is a religious observance day. The term poya in Sinhala is derived from the Pali and Sanskrit meaning “fast day.” For the Buddhists’ confessional rites and communal speaking of the code of discipline, the monks use the monthly moonless day and the full-moon day. Local devotees observe the day by visiting temples for worship. Sri Lanka Binara Poya Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
In a year there are 12 Poya days. Most shops and business establishments are closed on Poya Days. The sale of alcohol and meat is forbidden on Poya days.
The poya observance is as old as Buddhism itself. Up to the present day the Sinhala Buddhists practice the observance of poya. Because of its significance in the religious life of the Buddhists in the local communities, all of the full-moon days were declared public holidays by the government.
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