Sri Lanka – April
For several regions of Sri Lanka, April is the ideal time to visit. A dry and moderately warm climate, April offers comfortable travel in the east coast and ancient cities region particularly. The school holidays in the UK, coupled with the decent weather and the Sri Lankan celebration of the Buddhist New Year, make April a popular month. Weather is comfortable, but steadily warmer throughout the month, as the country approaches May, which is notorious for its extreme heat. Among the most popular tourist destinations in April are Nuwara Eliya, a colonial hill station that is popular among Europeans and Sri Lankan socialites. Because of this, hotel bookings for Nuwara Eliya in April are at their most expensive, and lodgings may be difficult to come by. It is recommended that travelers book their accommodations weeks in advance to ensure a place to stay.
In April, Sri Lankans celebrate the Buddhist New Year, a three-day-long celebration from the start of the first full moon of that month, usually around the 12-13th. Travelers can expect jubilant celebration in the form of fireworks, festival music, and delicious traditional meals shared with neighbors. One such shared meal is kiribath, a rice and coconut milk dish that is customarily shared during auspicious holidays in Sri Lanka. As is tradition for the Buddhist New Year, travelers in Sri Lanka should expect to be given rupees as gifts; in the hope the auspicious money will bring good luck. Although the general atmosphere is festive, and many places bustle with celebration, travelers who have come to shop should be forewarned that stores in Sri Lanka tend to close during the Buddhist New Year, as most people travel and visit with relatives. In fact, although the villages and small towns are usually bustling with excitement, larger cities such as Colombo tend to be deserted. In the smaller towns and villages, one can expect to find women playing drums in celebration, children and adults alike playing cricket and Guddu, villagers playing cards and singing songs, all to celebrate the New Year. Small towns such as Ella and Bandarawela are prime visiting locations for April.
Lastly, Easter is celebrated by many in Sri Lanka, particularly by Sri Lankan Catholics and Christians in the coastal region. Although a minority group, Christians in Sri Lanka celebrate Easter devoutly, oftentimes re-enacting Christ’s crucifixion, sometimes for as long as three hours. Afterward, a procession is led to the mountains of Golgotha. Small towns such as Kandana and Nagombo typically celebrate Easter with large re-enactments and processions on the Friday before Easter, known as Good Friday, or on Easter Sunday itself. Specific celebrations differ from town to town.