Forget your average NYE bender - Kandy's Avurudu Festival offers a far more spiritual and cultural experience.
- When? 13th - 14th April 2018
- Where? Throughout Kandy
- Price: free, although you should take cash for food and drinks.
New Year. A time of merriment, last minute party planning and resolutions that you'll promptly 'forget'. But what if you could celebrate in an entirely different way? Welcome to Avurudu in Sri Lanka's Kandy that heralds the Sihalese New Year with a very different kind of celebration.
Festivities begin on the evening of the New Year, with houses being cleaned, lamps lit and drums drummed. Unlike its western counterpart, the transition between old year and new year is interrupted by a few hours known as Nonagathe, or 'neutral' hours, when locals play traditional games. As the new year rolls around, families take to the streets for dances, parades and parties - the streets around the centre are particularly vibrant.
Fill up on kavum (oil cake), kokis (crisp sweetbreads) and coconut sweets as the street parties (accompanied by fireworks) carry on into the early hours - luckily both days are public holidays in Sri Lanka. So this year, rather than spending a freezing December night trying to organise the logistics of 20 drunk friends, save yourself for Kandy's wonderful Avurudu Festival instead. We're sold.
- Get there: Bandaranaike International Airport is the closest airport to Kandy. Take a taxi to Gampaha Station then hop on the Colombo to Kandy train.
- Stay: Find a hotel in the heart of the city so you don't miss a second of the festivities.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!