Poson festivals attract pilgrims to main sacred sites | Sunday Observer

Poson festivals attract pilgrims to main sacred sites

4 June, 2023

The most revered Poson Poya which marks the arrival of Mihindu Thera and Buddhism in Sri Lanka fell yesterday. Accordingly, the main Poson Festival is taking place at the Mihintale Raja Maha Vihara off Anuradhapura.

The theme of this year’s Poson Festival is ‘Let’s arise, awaken, engage and protect the Dhamma preached by the Buddha and Arahat Mihindu Thera’. This year’s festival will be the 2,331st held in the country.

It is expected that around one million pilgrims will visit the Mihintale sacred site from all corners of Sri Lanka for the festival. Many pilgrims are also expected to arrive from neighbouring Buddhist countries. Pilgrimsare also flocking to Situlpawwa, Thanthirimale, Kelaniya, Tissamaharama and Mahiyangana as well as to Homagama where the Buddha Rashmi Poson Zone is being held.

May 31-June 6 has been named the Poson Week. The festivities are led by the Chief Prelates of the three Nikayas and attended by many other distinguished guests. The Poson Aloka Pooja (Illuminations) will be held from June 2 to 4. The Police and the three Armed Forces are extending their fullest support for the Poson programs, along with the North Central Province (NCP) Governor and officials.

A large number of dansalas will also be held in Anuradhapura and Mihintale, with the participation of the Mihintale Pradeshiya Sabha, MoH office, Archeology Department, Mihintale Police Station and others. These have been approved by the regional health authorities and will be inspected regularly. A large number of Dansalas are being held islandwide.

The Mihintale Hospital and the Sri Lanka Army will provide emergency health care during this period. The Anuradhapura Poson Committee has decided not to permit the use of loudspeakers during the festival to prevent them from becoming a nuisance to students sitting for the GCE Ordinary Level Examination.

Elaborate festivities did not take place this time and instead, Dhamma sermons and discourses including other religious programs are being held in the Atamasthana in Anuradhapura and the Tantirimale religious site. Liquor outlets and meat stalls will remain closed in the Anuradhapura District during Poson Week.