Easter 2017 and 2018
|2017||14 Apr||Fri||Good Friday|
|2018||30 Mar||Fri||Good Friday|
While Easter Day in Sri Lanka is celebrated for the same reasons here, as in the rest of the world, the celebration is somewhat different. In fact, in many areas of the country, the Easter holiday is completely non-existent. For example, in the larger cities and towns, such as Colombo, Easter is a religious holiday, and a time for people to go to church, plan feasts with the family, and help the needy in the community. However, the Friday before Easter, Good Friday is a Christian holiday that is celebrated in Sri Lanka.
However, when you move into the more rural areas of Sri Lanka, Easter is considered just another day. In fact, even though it occurs on a Sunday, it is still “business as usual” in these parts of the country.
The Sri Lanka Easter Celebration
Easter is the day that the Christian world celebrates the Risen Christ. In most cases, it is observed quietly in the bigger churches of Sri Lanka, and among family members and friends who have adopted the Christian faith. However, many of the children and families in other parts of the country are not Christians. In fact, 85 percent of the people living in rural areas do not celebrate the Easter holiday.
There are some schools and public buildings that provide workers and children a short vacation. However, this holiday is typical because Easter occurs at the same time as the Tamil and Sinhala New Year celebrations.
While Christmas, which is another Christian holiday, is celebrated by virtually all the people in Sri Lanka, Easter has not yet been adopted by everyone in the country.
History of Christianity
As a Western religion, it can seem strange that Easter is observed in Sri Lanka. Most people believe that Christianity arrived in Sri Lanka during the era of European colonization, but some scholars believe that it was actually introduced to Sri Lankans as early as 72 CE. According to these scholars’ research, Christianity was imported to Sri Lanka by travellers from nearby India. After Portuguese explorers colonized Sri Lanka, additional forms of Christianity were introduced to the Sri Lankans. Christianity currently continues to spread in Sri Lanka, but the religion practiced by most Sri Lankans is Theravada Buddhism. Most of the Christian Sri Lankans are located in western areas of Sri Lanka.
Celebrations and Traditions
The Easter celebrations are typically minimal. In the larger cities, people often attend special church services on this day. Many churches also hold community-wide feasts, which are not only to feed the congregation, but also the needy in the community.
Many families also plan private Easter celebrations and gatherings. In most cases, this includes praying, talking about Jesus and God, and eating traditional fare of the country. Easter egg hunts are not a tradition that is observed in Sri Lanka.
If you have plans to visit Sri Lanka on Easter, you may or may not encounter celebrations. Since it falls on a Sunday each year, most government offices, banks, and schools are closed already. Also, since this coincides with the New Year celebration, you are more likely to run into groups of people celebrating this, rather than Easter.
However, the weather in the country is beautiful this time of year, and it makes a very good time to visit. If you are going during Easter, just don’t expect large celebrations around the cities and towns. This is typically not something that occurs, simply because knowledge about Easter in the country is not widespread or well-known.