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The traditional and common greeting is to press the palms of one's hands together under the chin and in front of the chest while slightly bowing the head. The traditional greeting is often accompanied by the phrase 'ayubowan' (in Sinhalese) or 'vannakkam' (in Tamil), which means "may you be blessed with a long life".


The official national costume in Sri Lanka: sari for women and sarong for men. Sarong is a long piece of cloth that is wrapped around the body. In some region’s men use a sarong with a long-sleeved shirt. There are several ways to wear a sarong. Sometimes men tie it and make a knot in front, in other cases they wrap it around like a skirt.

Mostly women use sari or half sari, but there are different regional peculiarities. The clothes of women in Sri Lanka differ much depending on the age of a woman. Little girls often wear skirts and blouses. Girls who reached puberty and young women wear half sari. The bottom of this attire looks like a sari, but the top is a scarf or a piece of cloth put on a shoulder and tucked in the skirt. The top can also be a jacket or a blouse. The traditional clothing for official events and ceremonies is a sari. 

Muslim women in Sri Lanka wear same dress as in any other country. They cover all the body, except face and hands. Mostly Muslim women use sari in a drape called the Gujarati drape. It lets them cover the head with extra fabric when needed.

Traditional Clothing
Traditional Clothing
Traditional Clothing



The culture of Sri Lanka mixes modern elements with traditional aspects and is known for its regional diversity. Sri Lankan culture has long been influenced by the heritage of Theravada Buddhism passed on from India, and the religion's legacy is particularly strong in Sri Lanka's southern and central regions. South Indian cultural influences are especially pronounced in the northernmost reaches of the country. The history of colonial occupation has also left a mark on Sri Lanka's identity, with Portuguese, Dutch, and British elements having intermingled with various traditional facets of Sri Lankan culture. Additionally, Indonesian culture has also influenced certain aspects of Sri Lankan culture. Culturally, Sri Lanka possesses strong links to both India and Southeast Asia.

The country has a rich artistic tradition, with distinct creative forms that encompass music, dance, and the visual arts. Sri Lankan culture is internationally associated with cricket, a distinct cuisine, an indigenous holistic medicine practice, religious iconography such as the Buddhist flag, and exports such as tea, cinnamon, and gemstones, as well as a robust tourism industry. Sri Lanka's population is predominantly Sinhalese with sizable Sri Lankan Moor, Sri Lankan Tamil, Indian Tamil, Sri Lankan Malay and Burgher minorities. 

Sri Lanka is one of the few countries with a very vast and rich cultural diversity. The culture is itself very unique and thereby contributes to the Sri Lankan identity. Sri Lankan culture includes a lot of customs and rituals, whish date to more than 2000 years which were handed down from generation to generation. The Sri Lankan way of life is very simple and filled with humility and happiness, this is one of the reasons why the Sri Lankans have a very great sense in appreciating the simple things in life such as nature.

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Sinhala (also called Sinhalese or Singhalese) is the mother tongue of the Sinhalese ethnic group which is the largest in Sri Lanka. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. Sinhala is spoken by about 16 million people in Sri Lanka, about 13 million of whom are native speakers. It is one of the constitutionally-recognised official languages of Sri Lanka, along with Tamil. Tamil is a classical language and the oldest of the Dravidian language family and spoken by the Tamil population of Sri Lanka. It is also spoken by Tamils in India, Malaysia and Singapore.

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Sri Lankan cuisine is known for its particular combinations of herbs, spices, fish, vegetables, rice, and fruits. The cuisine is highly centred around many varieties of rice, as well as coconut. Seafood also plays a significant role in the cuisine, be it fresh fish or preserved fish.  Kiribath is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made from rice. It is prepared by cooking rice with coconut milk, hence this name, and can be considered a form of rice cake or rice pudding. Kiribath is an essential dish in Sri Lankan cuisine and celebrations. 

Spices and Lampraise

Sri Lanka has long been known for its spices. The best known is cinnamon which is native to Sri Lanka. In the 15th and 16th centuries, spice and ivory traders from all over the world brought their native cuisines to the island, resulting in a rich diversity of cooking styles and techniques. Lamprais is a Sri Lankan dish that was introduced by the country's Dutch Burgher population. Lamprais is an Anglicised derivative of the Dutch word lomprijst, which loosely translated means a packet or lump of rice. Lamprais rice boiled in stock with a special curry, accompanied by frikkadels (meatballs), all of which are then wrapped in a banana leaf and baked. British influences include roast beef and roast chicken. Also, the influence of Indian cooking methods and food has played a major role in what Sri Lankans eat.

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Indigenous Medicine (Ayuruvedic)

Indigenous medicine is also a huge part of the culture which is even has said to be able to cure terminal diseases such as cancer. These days in Sri Lanka a lot of ayuruvedic spas and clinics are open for tourists who visit the country

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Sri Lanka is a multi-religious society. Buddhism is a major religion and other religions such as Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are also followed. Buddhism came to Sri Lanka from India during the reign of Ashoka in the third century BC and played a significant role in the establishment of Sinhalese kingdoms since the early times, dating back to over two thousand five hundred (2,500) years. Hinduism is mainly practiced by Tamils in Sri Lanka who ethnically belong to South India where Hinduism was predominantly practiced. Around the fifth and the sixth century A.D., the Chola dynasty of South India usurped the throne of the Sinhalese Kingdom and conquered the island, leading to a considerable number of immigrants from South India into northern Sri Lanka. 

In ancient times Arab traders from the Middle East visited the southern part of Sri Lanka for their business and later settled on the island. The Muslim community in Sri Lanka attained dominant growth by 10th century A.D. Christianity first came to Sri Lanka upon the arrival of the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. Under their rule, Roman Catholicism was spread out on a mass scale of the Island with many Roman Catholic schools for the Sinhalese and the Tamils.

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Vesak, also known as Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Puṇṇamā and Buddha Day, is a holiday traditionally observed by Buddhists and Hindus in South and Southeast Asia as well as Tibet and Mongolia. The festival commemorates the birth, enlightenment (Nibbāna), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha in Theravada Tibetan Buddhism and Navayana. Vesak is celebrated in May, the full moon day of the month.


Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic; commonly known as the Sri Dalada Maligawa (ශ්‍රී දළදා මාළිගාව), is a Buddhist temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha.


Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. The name also refers to the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance. There is a Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month's 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter (February/March) and before the arrival of Summer, marks Maha Shivaratri which means "the Great Night of Shiva". It is a major festival in Hinduism, and this festival is solemn and marks a remembrance of "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as honesty, non-injury to others, charity, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva. 


Muslims celebrate Mawlid, fast during the Islamic month Ramadan and celebrate at the end of the month with the festival which is (Eid al-Fitr) and (Eid al-Adha) is celebrated on the final month of the Islamic calendar known as Dhu al-Hijjah. Ramadan is a festival celebrated by Muslims all around the world, and the Muslims in Sri Lanka too celebrate the festival in grand style. The end of 40 days of fasting is celebrated with much festivity where meals are shared with the poor and with the neighbors.


Muslims celebrate Mawlid, fast during the Islamic month Ramadan and celebrate at the end of the month with the festival which is (Eid al-Fitr) and (Eid al-Adha) is celebrated on the final month of the Islamic calendar known as Dhu al-Hijjah. Ramadan is a festival celebrated by Muslims all around the world, and the Muslims in Sri Lanka too celebrate the festival in grand style. The end of 40 days of fasting is celebrated with much festivity where meals are shared with the poor and with the neighbors.


There are 22 National Parks in Sri Lanka, and the most popular four Yala, Wilpattu, Minneriya and Udawalawe contain some of the most impressive wildlife found in Asia. Sri Lanka is home to approximately ninety-one species of mammals. Of these ninety-one, sixteen are endemic and can only be found in Sri Lanka while fourteen are threatened including the large Sloth Bear, the Sri Lankan Leopard and the Sri Lankan Elephant. Due to the geographical differences (climate, vegetation and altitude) found in Sri Lanka, mammals are widely distributed throughout the country. Meanwhile the ocean around Sri Lanka is home to the mighty blue whales, sperm whales and lively dolphins.