I found out that full moon days in Sri Lanka have special religious significance in the Buddhist calendar. They are called Poya days and are reserved for contemplation and cleansing of the defiled mind. All offices and shops close from midnight to midnight, and there is nowhere – not even tourist restaurants and hotel bars – where you can buy alcohol.
The Sri Lankan Excise Department designates which days are officially Poya days at the start of each year. During our stay in December, Unduvap Poya will happen on the eleventh, a few days after we arrive. This is also possibly the night set aside for climbing Adam’s Peak, another activity that good Buddhists do on a full moon.
Poya will bring a whole new meaning to astronomy… gazing up at the stars with such a clear head. And to moonshine too, which won’t be the sort you swig from a bottle.
The sale of meat is also forbidden on Poya days, so it will be interesting to see what menus appear in the restaurants. Bath temperadu and pungent green tea! Quite a change from a beer and chips.