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24/05/24 | 10:07 am

Tens of thousands flock to Sri Lankan capital to celebrate the start of week-long Vesak celebrations

The rain did not dampen the mood for celebrating Sri Lanka’s most important religious festival, Vesak Day, on Thursday (May 23) night.

The week-long festival of lights to celebrate Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death is centered in and around the capital Colombo. Streets are lined with coloured lights, lanterns, Buddha’s statues, and various flags and posters

Tens of thousands of devotees flocked to Buddhist temples to take part in religious ceremonies despite pre-monsoon rains lashing the island.

A highlight of the festivities is the unique Sri Lankan tradition of food stalls serving free meals to devotees. Long queues were seen outside makeshift tents waiting for their turn to eat. These stalls are set up around the country by groups of individuals on a voluntary basis.

The Indian Ocean island is facing a difficult period due to natural calamities, post-pandemic changes and the economic collapse, which have affected the celebrations this year.

(Reuters)

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