Esala Perahera The Pride of Sri Lanka

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Words : Mandulee Mendis 

The period of Kandy Esala Perahera, could be called one of the periods Sri Lanka gleams with its beautiful heritage and history at its beat. Esala is also considered to be the beginning of the raining season when the monks commence their spiritual retreat. Also, this month is considered to be the period when ritual performances to the protective divinities are held, such as Pattini puja. Since this month is considered chaste, the period is considered prosperous as well.

The history

The celebration of Esala Perahera is an age-old tradition, which is believed to date back to 3rd Century BC. However, in the 18th century at the time of King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe, the four Devala Peraharas and Dalada Perahara were amalgamated and were made series of Peraharas. The procession is a complex procedure in which various customs are involved.

The preparation

Esala Perehera is the biggest cultural even of the country, especially in Kandy area. The preliminary preparation for the Perahara therefore commences at the beginning of every year. Immediately after the Wesak and Poson pageants steps are taken for the preparation. The tuskers, the dancers, other performers are seen to, at this phase. Meanhile, the whole Kandy area, and also media start speaking of the grand celebration creating the perfect mood for the event. It is customary for an astrologer attached to the Sacred Tooth to required to prepare an auspicious time for the pageant to be inaugurated.

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