The Kartika Festival (Kartika Mangallaya)

The third festival of the year is “Karthika” festival. It is celebrated in the full moon day of the month of November by having lighted oil lamps being offered to the Lord Buddha once night falls. This resembles the Hindu “Dipawali Festival” and it is believed that this “Karthika” festival was influenced by the South Indian Nayakkar kings. The chief organizer of this festival is the Diyawadana Nilame of the temple of the sacred tooth relic of Kandy. In ancient times the oil for the “Karthika’ festival was distributed by the King, following the same custom the oil is provided by Sri Dalada Maligawa to the four main devala and other listed rural temples and devala including Gadaladeniya Rajamaha Viharaya and Gadaladeniya Vishnu Dewalaya. The oil is distributed with a small ceremony which takes place at the Natha Dewalaya of Kandy.

This festival marks God Kataragama or Skhanda’s (Kartika) victory over the Asuras during the Sura Asura conflict. Therefore, hundreds of oil lamps are lighted inside the main shrine and the temple premises as offerings to the great Lord Buddha. Moreover, a special Gilanpasa Pooja is also held for the Lord Buddha on this day.  All the merits achieved by this ceremony are transferred to God Skhanda