Vap Full Moon Poya

When is Vap Full Moon Poya?

This public holiday in Sri Lanka takes place on the full moon day of Vap, the seventh month in the Sinhalese calendar. It usually falls in October in the Western calendar.

The festival Marks Buddha’s preaching of Abhidamma to the gods in Tavatimsa and the end of the Buddhist period of fasting.

History of Vap Full Moon Poya

Maya, the mother of Buddha died a week after Buddha was born. She was reborn in the celestial abode of Tavatimsa as a god named Santusita. To honour his mother, Buddha ascended to the Tavatimsa Heaven and preached from the Abhidamma texts to Santusita for three months.

Buddhist Lent begins on Esala Full Moon Poya (July) and lasts for three months. During this time, Monks will stay inside their temples and rely on alms from devotees. The full moon in Vap marks Buddha’s return to earth and signifies the end of Buddhist Lent.

What are Poya?

Every full moon (usually once a month) is a public holiday in Sri Lanka. Each of the full moons has its own name and they are days to commemorate key events in Buddhism.

These full moon days are known as Poya. The Poya dates will change each year and certain Poya dates can be a day before or after the date of the full moon.

On Poya days, shops and businesses will usually close and the sale of alcohol and meat is forbidden.

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