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Poya is the name given to the Lunar monthly Buddhist holiday of Uposatha in Sri Lanka, where it is a civil and bank holiday. Full moon day is normally considered as the poya day in every month.


A Poya occurs every full moon.[1][2] Uposatha is important to Buddhists all around the world, who have adopted the lunar calendar for their religious observances. Owing to the moon's fullness of size as well as its effulgence, the full moon day is treated as the most auspicious of the four lunar phases occurring once every lunar month (29.5 days) and thus marked by a holiday.[3]

Every full moon day is known as a Poya in the Sinhala language; this is when a practicing Sinhalese Buddhist visits a temple for religious observances.[3] There are 13 or 14 Poyas per year.[4][5] The term poya is derived from the Pali and Sanskrit work uposatha (from upa + vas "to fast"), primarily signifying "fast day".[3] Generally shops and businesses are closed on Poya days, and the sale of alcohol and meat is forbidden.

The Poya Day in each month generally falls on the Gregorian date of the full moon but occasionally it falls a day either side. The designated Poya Day is based on the phase of the moon at the Madhyahana time of day (the variant of Madhyahana which only covers two ghatikas).[citation needed]

Month Poya Name[1][4] Full Moon Poya days of 2020[6]
January Duruthu Poya 10th
February Navam Poya 8th
March Medin Poya 9th
April Bak Poya 7th
May Vesak Poya 7th
June Poson Poya 5th
July Esala Poya 4th
August Nikini Poya 3th
September Binara Poya 1th
October Adhi Vap Poya 1th
October Vap Poya 30th
November Ill Poya 29th
December Unduvap Poya 29th

If a month has two Poya days, the name of the second one will be preceded by "Adhi" ("extra" in Sinhala) as in "Adhi Vesak", "Adhi Poson", etc.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sri Lanka Bank Holidays, Public Holidays & Full Moon Poya Days" Archived 2011-03-01 at the Wayback Machine (Online Calendar for years 2003–2011), Ministry of Public Administration and home Affairs, Independence Square, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka.
  2. ^ "Sri Lank Desk Calendar - 2013, Buddhist Era 2556-2557" (PDF). Department of Government Printing. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 July 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c A.G.S. Kariyawasam, "Buddhist Ceremonies and Rituals of Sri Lanka" (Ch. 3), The Wheel Publication No. 402/404 (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1995). Access to Insight, 1 March 2011
  4. ^ a b For a standard listing of the 13, see The Significance of Poya.
  5. ^ For an example of the less common 14 full moon days in one year, see the 2009 calendar Archived 2011-01-24 at the Wayback Machine of "Sri Lanka Bank Holidays, Public Holidays & Full Moon Poya Days"
  6. ^ Government Notifications, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka ", The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, EXTRAORDINARY", 8 April 2019.