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    'Let's practice gratitude - commemorate Arahath Mahinda’

    June 12, 2014

    Significance of Poson Full Moon Poya Day

     

    Poson full-moon poya day (Poson Poya Day/Poson Festival) commemorates the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC. It is a festival of great historical and religious significance celebrated island-wide by Buddhists. Poson, held on the full moon day of June, commemorates the occasion over 2,000 years ago when Arahat Mahinda, son of Emperor Asoka of India, converted King Devanampiyatissa to Buddhism. The main center of celebration is Mihintale, the ancient monastic complex where the royal missionary monk Mahinda preached the first sermon to the ruling king at Anuradhapura the ancient capital, to which large crowd of pilgrims converge. Mass religious observances, illuminations pageants are part of the celebrations.


    For Buddhists, the day of Poson is second only to Vesak in terms of importance. Although Poson is celebrated throughout the island, the major ceremonies are to be found in Anuradhapura and Mihintale. Long lines of devotees dressed in white climb the many steps to the top of the Mihintale hill first to the temple, and then to the dagobas that lie adorn the nearby hillocks. In addition, many devotees climb to the very top of the rock, to the spot where Arahat Mahinda delivered his initial discourses.

    Poson Poya is celebrated annually with great fervor throughout the island but particularly in Mihintale where Mahinda Thero first put his foot to preach the word of Lord Buddha.This is why Mihinthale is called the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. With the establishment of Bhikku Sasanaya all other elements of a civilized society began to emerge with the art of writing, art, architecture, river civilization, religious rituals in song and dance forms, literature, all with royal patronage.

    Many religious activities are organized during this poson period in Sri Lanka such as Sil campaigns,Bodhi Poojas, Dansalas (Freely distributing food and beverages), Poson devotional songs, Poson pandols(thoran) and lanterns. During the Poson Festival, the selling of alcohol and flesh is prohibited, with abattoirs also being closed.


    A festival of great piety and sanctity which focuses on the virtual of compassion to all living creature,it is also one of much colour and gaiety, with streets, homes and public places decorated with beautiful and finely decorated hand-made paper lanterns small and big and glittering with illuminations, pandals depicting the different occurrences in the life of the Buddha or his previous births.

     

    (KH/ST)

    Last modified on Thursday, 12 June 2014 08:38

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