Esala Perahera and its Rituals – Insights into the Incredible Festival

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The Esala Perahera, also known as The Festival of the Tooth, is one of Sri Lanka’s most renowned festivals, and consistently garners worldwide attention. Let’s take a closer look at it.

Esala Perahera | Image Credit: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:The_s0rc3r">Daniel Liabeuf</a>, <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elephants_of_Kandy_Esala_Perahera_(2).jpg">Elephants of Kandy Esala Perahera (2)</a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode" rel="license">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
Esala Perahera | Image Credit: Daniel Liabeuf, Elephants of Kandy Esala Perahera (2), CC BY-SA 3.0

Background

The Esala Perahera was initially conducted solely to invoke the blessings of certain gods to create rainfall during the drier months, as well as celebrating Indra’s victory over the demon Vritra.

The Start

The festival takes place around July/August, and the first thing to happen would be the setting up of the ‘kap poles’, which are cut from lactiferous trees and planted during a very specific hour, which is deemed to be the auspicious time.

The First Five Days

During the first five days, the festival is confined to the temple premises, and towards the end of this period, the casket carrying the tooth is escorted out on top of the designated sacred elephant. If you happen to be staying at Sri Lanka luxury resorts situated in Kandy, such as Earl’s Regency, during this time, then be sure to visit the town’s famous temple.

The Water-Cutting Ceremony

This is what concludes the comprehensive festival and involves a fraction of the procession. This ceremony is conducted as soon as the first rays of the sun arrive. It is conducted by four individuals who are in charge of four specific shrines.

Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world. Google+

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