The last full moon day of the year, which falls on December 7 this year, is when Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day is observed. In Sri Lankan history, this holiday holds great significance. Are you aware that the arrival of Sangamitta is the basis for Unduvap Full Moon Poya? Yes, this day honours the entry of Sangamitta Theri, the daughter of Ashoka, into Sri Lanka in the month of Unduwap, carrying a Bo sapling from the revered Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in India. It usually falls on the last full moon day of the year in December, the ninth month in the Sinhalese calendar.
HISTORY OF UNDUVAP FULL MOON POYA
Celebrated on this official holiday in Sri Lanka, the Bo tree sapling was delivered to Anuradhapura by Sangamitta, the daughter of Ashoka. According to history, Lord Buddha meditated beneath a Bodhi tree in Bihar, India, and eventually obtained enlightenment. Years later, on an Unduvap Poya day, Sangamitta and a few other royal family members boarded the Sasanaya in Dambakolapatuna Port in Jaffna. Inside a golden bowl, the holy Bo sapling was transported to Sri Lanka and planted at the Mahamewna Garden in Anuradhapura. Bo seedlings from this tree were sent to different island regions to disseminate Buddhism and its culture.
Sangamitta has also shared her many talents in various crafts and fields, including woodworking, farming, traditional medicine, etc., which has aided in the nation’s development. Every year on Unduvap Full Moon Poya day, thousands of Buddhist pilgrims swarm Anuradhapura to pay their respects to the holy Bo tree. Additionally, it is stated that Lord Buddha travelled to Sri Lanka during his lifetime. The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Standing at Mahamevna Uyana is currently the most revered tree in the entire world.
Every full moon day in Sri Lanka is observed as a public holiday. These days each has a name and honors significant Buddhist anniversaries. Every year, there are full moon days known as Poya. During these days, stores and establishments often close, and the sale of meat and alcoholic beverages is prohibited.