The festival of historic Esala Maha Perehera started in Sri Lanka

The 10-day festival of the historic Esala Maha Perehera has started in Kandy, Sri Lanka on August 17 with a grand procession. The procession set off from the biggest Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, Sri Dalada Maligawa at an auspicious time. The Esala Perahera is one of the oldest and grandest of all Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka, featuring dancers, jugglers, musicians, fire-breathers and lavishly decorated elephants. This is held in Esala (July or August) which is the month that is believed to commemorate the first teaching given by the Buddha after he attained enlightenment. The purpose of the procession is to beseech the blessings of the Gods to obtain rain for the cultivation of crops and to enrich the lands of the kingdom. This ritual is performed by carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha through the streets and is considered as one of the most beautiful pageants in Asia. The festival ends with the traditional diya-kepeema ritual, a water cutting ceremony which is held at the Mahaweli River at Getambe, Kandy.

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