The Sacred & Colourful Nights dedicated to God Skanda | Daily News
Kataragama Esala Perahera:

The Sacred & Colourful Nights dedicated to God Skanda

The Kataragama Esala Perahera, one of the most revered and nationally important cultural festivals, takes place annually at the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya in Kataragama. This year’s Esala festival is being held from July 10 to July 23.

Basnayake Nilame Dishan Gunasekara said after a series of Esala religious activities, the main Perahera of the Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya will parade the streets on July 23 (Full Moon Poya Day) night. All rituals of the Perahera will be conducted without devotees. The events are being conducted under strict health guidelines. However, elephants, dancing groups and other cultural items will be included in the Perahera. The festival will end with the water cutting ceremony on July 24.

The Kataragama Esala Perahera begins with the Kap Situveema (Planting Kap). The priests go into the forest and find two forked branches of a sacred tree. The branches are then immersed in the local river and kept at the shrines dedicated to Kataragama Deviyo (God Skanda) and Valli Amma as this religious and colourful festival is celebrated to commemorate their romantic union.

The Kataragama Perahera festival begins 45 days after the Kap Situveema. According to the auspicious times, the Kataragama Esala festival is generally held for 15 to 16 days.

Lake House is the print media sponsor of the Kataragama Esala Festival.

(Picture supplement coordinated

by Wimal Karunathilake)
(Pictures by Kataragama Special Correspondent)

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