Islamic festivals in Sri Lanka

Islamic festivals in Sri Lanka

Islamic festivals are very special days for Muslims all around the world and they’re full of fun, sharing, and prayer. Muslims follow a special calendar based on the moon (Lunar Islamic calendar) to decide when these festivals happen. During the year, they celebrate different events that bring them closer together as a community.

One of the biggest festivals is Ramadan, where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for a whole month. At the end of Ramadan, they have a big celebration called Eid al-Fitr, where everyone eats delicious food and gives gifts. Then there’s Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, which remembers a story about Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his strong faith. This festival happens when many Muslims travel to a place called Mecca on a journey known as the Hajj, which is very important in Islam.

Muslims also celebrate the Islamic New Year, remembering when Prophet Muhammad moved from Mecca to Medina, and Mawlid al-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, which is a day to learn and remember his teachings. All these festivals help Muslims to remember to be kind, to help each other, and to feel close to their faith and community. It’s a time for joy, for thinking about others, and for being together with family and friends.

Islamic festivals in Sri Lanka

Islamic festivals are primarily based on the lunar Islamic calendar, and their observance varies between cultures, but some major festivals are celebrated universally by Muslims worldwide. Here are the key Islamic festivals celebrated annually:


This is the holy month of fasting, prayer, and reflection. Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, and other physical needs during daylight hours. It’s a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-discipline.

Eid al-Fitr

Celebrated at the end of Ramadan, this “Festival of Breaking the Fast” is a joyous occasion where Muslims gather for special prayers and feasts, and to give charity to the less fortunate. It is marked by social gatherings, delicious food, and giving gifts.

Eid al-Adha

Known as the “Festival of Sacrifice,” this is the second major Islamic festival, which coincides with the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. It commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son in obedience to God’s command. Muslims around the world slaughter an animal (usually a sheep, goat, cow, or camel) to honor Ibrahim’s sacrifice and distribute the meat to family, friends, and the needy.

Islamic New Year

Also known as Hijri New Year, this festival marks the beginning of the new Islamic calendar year. It is a time for Muslims to reflect on their past year and plan for the year ahead.

Mawlid al-Nabi

This festival celebrates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. It is observed in the third month of the Islamic calendar, known as Rabi’ al-awwal. Some Muslims see it as an occasion for religious lectures and recitations of verses from the Quran, while others see it as an unwarranted innovation.


This day is significant for Sunni and Shia Muslims but for different reasons. For Sunni Muslims, it marks the day Moses was saved from the Pharaoh’s tyranny. For Shia Muslims, Ashura is a solemn day commemorating the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala.

These festivals have deep religious significance and offer a chance for communal bonding and cultural expression within the global Muslim community.

FAQs about Islamic Festivals in Sri Lanka

1. What are the main Islamic festivals celebrated in Sri Lanka?

The main Islamic festivals celebrated in Sri Lanka are Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

2. When is Eid al-Fitr celebrated, and what does it signify?

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. It signifies the conclusion of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting and is a time for feasting, giving thanks, and community gatherings.

3. What are some traditional practices associated with Eid al-Fitr in Sri Lanka?

Traditional practices include attending special prayers at mosques, giving Zakat al-Fitr (charity), sharing festive meals with family and friends, wearing new clothes, and visiting relatives.

4. When is Eid al-Adha celebrated, and what does it commemorate?

Eid al-Adha is celebrated approximately 70 days after Eid al-Fitr, during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah. It commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.

5. How is Eid al-Adha observed in Sri Lanka?

Eid al-Adha is observed with prayers at mosques, the ritual sacrifice of animals (usually goats, sheep, or cattle), and distributing the meat among family, friends, and the less fortunate. It is also a time for family gatherings and festive meals.

6. Are there any other significant Islamic observances in Sri Lanka?

Other significant observances include Ramadan (a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection), Milad-un-Nabi (the birthday of Prophet Muhammad), and Islamic New Year (Muharram).

7. How do Islamic festivals impact daily life in Sri Lanka?

During Islamic festivals, there may be public holidays, and many businesses and schools may close or operate on reduced hours. The celebrations bring communities together, and there is a spirit of generosity and sharing.

8. Are non-Muslims invited to participate in Islamic festivals in Sri Lanka?

While Islamic festivals are primarily observed by the Muslim community, non-Muslims are often invited to join in the celebrations, particularly in communal meals and social gatherings, fostering a sense of unity and mutual respect.

9. What are some traditional foods associated with Islamic festivals in Sri Lanka?

Traditional foods include biryani, watalappam (a coconut custard dessert), samosas, kebabs, and various sweets and pastries that are shared with family and friends during the festive period.

10. Where can visitors experience Islamic festivals in Sri Lanka?

Visitors can experience Islamic festivals in areas with significant Muslim populations, such as Colombo, Kandy, Galle, and the Eastern Province. Mosques and community centers often host large gatherings and events open to the public.

Why travel with Green Holiday?

100% Tailormade

Your entire holiday is designed around your requirements

Explore your interests at your own speed Select your preferred style of accommodation

Create the perfect trip with the help of our specialists

Expert knowledge

The same specialist will handle your trip from start to finish

Make the most of your time and budget

Your entire holiday is designed around your requirements

Locale Travel Specialists

Extensive knowledge about the destination, including hidden gems, cultural nuances, and off-the-beaten-path experiences

Immediate assistance and insights, addressing any concerns or unexpected situations promptly.

Exclusive deals and discounts that may not be available through foreign agents.

Trusted service

24/7 emergency support

Registered Under the Government of Sri Lanka.

Memorable and enjoyable 15 days in Sri Lanka with Green Holidays The green holidays organised our whole trip to Sri Lanka according to our suggestions and requirements. We had a perfect, peaceful and enjoyable 15 days holiday. Pradeep and Rashmi booked the accommodation, vehicle for travel and the the driver/guide within a very short time. They were very prompt in responding to our messages and accommodating our last minute changes. The hotels they booked were comfortable, check in was so smooth and the service was good. We were able to do much more than we anticipated because of their coordination. Our guide/driver Romesh was very polite, trustworthy and punctual. We travelled with Romesh from Colombo to Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kandy and Galle in his car without any incidents and reached safely at the airport on time for our return flight. We thank Pradeep, Jay, Rashmi and Romesh for making our trip a pleasant and an enjoyable one.
Emmanuel P
Emmanuel P
Travel in peace and with Personal contact of Green Holidays We used the services of Green Holiday for our stay in Sri Lanka. They arranged the complete tour picking us up at the Bandaranayaka Airport and taking us to Jaffna, Batticaloa, Bentota, Colombo and Kandy including Ella. Green Holiday provided us with a Chauffeur/ tour guide ( Upul) who knew so much about SriLanka and its History and personally took care of our safety and was with us to ensure our check in at the hotels was flawless. Upul is a honest trustworthy person to rely on and was very caring. Thanks to Green Holidays for providing a knowledgeable person to be with us throughout the trip. We had the pleasure of dealing with Pradeep who planned out our trip to our liking with several changes requested by us and was available on the phone anytime 24/7 to discuss and review options. Rashmi from Green Holidays was our local contact in case of any emergency or for information once we were in in Sri Lanka. We were glad to have the assurance of a personal contact while on vacation. Green Holidays has earned our trust to make our vacation relaxing and trouble free. We recommend Green Holidays as a reliable trustworthy company to book your vacation packages. Their team worked vigorously to ensure our vacation is pleasant, memorable and safe.
Koushik S
Koushik S
We had such an amazing trip and we are back with lots of lovely memories. Thanks to Green Holiday for arranging a wonde We had been to Srilanka for 5 days and we did have such a fantastic trip. The whole place was very clean and the natural look was just fantastic
Sam B
Sam B
Great driver, great Organisation My boyfriend and i took a two week holiday on sri lanka. One week on road, one week beach holiday. Apart from a little mishap at the start when our arrival time was wrongly put at 09.30 instead of 05.30. However all it took was a quick phone to Dilan our driver who rushed to pick us up immediately. Due to delays on the way here and a little visa issue (always double check your passport numbers twice people) we arrived in the arrival hall at 07.30…once we had called the adventure began at 08.15. Dilan was an absolute godsend. Kept us entertained with facts about the areas we were visiting, made good conversation during our long journeys and got us there safe and sound every time. Dilan would also help us plan out our day and was honest enough when something was either gonna be a rushjob or whenever he felt we weren’t gonna get the best bang for our buck at a certain attraction. which we really appreciated, since we had completely missjudged the traffic and the distances on this journey. He also helped us handle check-ins and check-out and as we later found out when we made excursions of our own, he also kept pesky scammers away whenever we went to visit a place on foot. As for the rest of the trip everything went incredibly smoothly. Hotel staff were super friendly with us and safaris and other tour providers were informed well in advance so that we would literaly rock up, get into another car or jeep or were handed over to a local guide and be on our way right away. So long story short, we would like to thank Green Holiday and Dilan for making our trip the adventure of a lifetime and wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone traveling in sri lanka.
Robert P
Robert P
Skvělá zkušenost Naše zkušenost s touto společnosti byla skvělá. Náš pruvodce Upul byl velmi ochotný,trpělivý a vzdělaný. O historii Srí Lanky jsme se od nej dozvěděli snad úplně vše . Ten člověk znal odpověď úplně na vše opravdu úžasný průvodce a skvělý řidič. Mohu jen doporučit
Hana K
Hana K
Absolutely reliable company with best guides. First of all, this company we used for arranging our whole vacation in Sri Lanka worked just perfect. We had no issue whatsoever. For travelling around the island for several days we had a guide Upul. He just was the best! Not only he was driving us around safe, he also knew about history, gave us all the explanations in a very interesting way. He took us in many great, beautiful and even fun places, always stood by our side, guiding us through crowds to the most interesting points and telling us all the information - about history, religions, politics, traditions, nature, you name it. Upul was truly able to answer any question we had. On top of that, he was always smiling, in a good mood, treated us with dignity and patiency. We truly appreciated it and thanks to him and a perfect organization we had the best time in Sri Lanka. I also want to say, that the company manager got in touch with us on the second day, asking how satisfied we were with Upul, checking if everything was ok. It was a nice thing to do. Overall, I truly recommend this company if you want to spend your vacatin with no hassle and great guiding.
Translate »