6 ways to Celebrate Christmas in Sri Lanka

Although Sri Lanka is an evergreen destination throughout the year, spending Christmas here is a truly magical experience. Since the festival of love and brotherhood is closely followed by the New Year, a merry, festive vibe prevails everywhere. While shops and offices are beautifully adorned, a huge shopping festival takes place from November up till the end of the year. All in all, December is the perfect month to pay a visit to the tear-dropped island and make your Christmas the one to remember. So, bearing this in mind, here is our recommended list of activities to do on the island for a truly memorable Christmas:

1. Visit Adam’s peak!

what to do in Sri Lanka

“Let your soul see. Go beyond these senses.” Image credit: Manu Praba on Flickr

Visiting a place of religious significance is a great way to celebrate a much-revered festival like Christmas. A sacred mountain nestled at 2,243 meters above the sea level, Adam’s Peak holds religious importance for not only Christians but also Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists alike. Emphasising on its significance for Christians, the mountain lays testimony to a 1.8-meter footprint of Adam (The iconic Adam & Eve).

Sri Pada or the Holy Footprint, as it is locally known, is the fourth highest mountain surrounded by lush green forested hills thus giving the trekkers a spectacular view throughout the journey. Visiting such a highly spiritual place would be an entirely different way to commemorate the whole idea of celebrating Christmas.

Must Do: You should definitely camp overnight to relish the starry extravaganza, witness the majesty of the soothing sunrise and then make your way back home. But make sure you carry sleeping bags and check the weather forecast beforehand.

2. A day in the Christmas Studded markets

A magical Christmas in Sri Lanka

“Life is nothing but a celebration.” Image credit: Amila Tennakoon on Flickr

If you are someone who loves to stroll around the markets during Christmas, then get ready to be mesmerized by each and every street of Colombo! While the shops and hotels are drenched in the festive vibe & overloaded with Christmas decoration, you will be awe-inspired by the stunning Christmas trees adorned with ornaments at every nook and corner. With the infinite laughter of kids, people bargaining for their last-minute Christmas deals, and reindeers ready to take off, Christmas in the realms of the Lankan markets will definitely leave your heart filled with ecstasy.

If you want to spot the island’s largest Christmas tree, hop towards Park Street in Colombo 07. What’s more? You must consider paying a visit to Cinnamon Grand Hotel which boasts of the city’s most distinctive #instagrammable decorations. For the foodies out there, it is a compulsion to stop by at the local eateries and dig in some scrumptious Christmas dishes like roasted turkey, steamed fruit pudding and authentic Sri Lankan curry. A few quick picks include Upali’s, Raja Bojun and Nuga Gama in Colombo.

Did You Know? In Sri Lanka, Christmas is called Naththala and Santa Claus is called Naththal Seeya.

Related: Best Restaurants in Sri Lanka

3. Do it the locals’ way

how to celebrate Christmas in Sri Lanka

Image credit: Amila Tennakoon on Flickr

While the larger cities will mostly be filled up with decorations, Christmas lights and loud festivities, there are few people who like it quiet and conventional on Christmas or in other words, in a silently merry and joyous way!

Head towards the coastal town of Negombo that houses a dense Christian population and let your heart cherish the good old Christmas memories where you attend small midnight masses, watch fireworks and go carol singing with locals collecting money for charity.

Pro Tip: If you’d like a homely atmosphere on Christmas, you try staying in a villa in Sri Lanka.  The staff will be more than happy to help you decorate the villa and prepare traditional local Christmas meals.

4. A 25-Course Sri Lankan Feast:

Where to eat on Christmas in Sri Lanka

“Sri Lankan Cuisine – You’ll get way too much Happiness from this food.” Image credit: Patty Ho on Flickr

No festival is complete without binge eating those mouth-watering delicacies and Christmas is no exception. Come home to the island’s most popular feast on 25th December! The epic feast is served inside a batik workshop which was once home to a famous batik artist who later transformed her front yard into Aluwahare Heritage Centre training villagers in diverse forms of art.

A spicy meal but no doubt the widest (in terms of the assortment of dishes) you will sit down for, in the entire country! After a warm welcome front the team and a hearty lunch, you can roam about in the kitchen, mingle with the people and chef, and also see the finest batik. Check it out!

5. A mini-pilgrimage to the Churches of Sri Lanka

visit a church on Christmas Day in Sri Lanka

“Let thy Faith Give thee Wings.” Image credit: Hash Milhan on Flickr

The festive occasion of Christmas gives one an opportunity to explore the religious aspect of oneself. What’s better than planning a mini expedition exploring numerous churches built throughout the country?

Having a history of Portuguese, Dutch and Britishers rulers, Sri Lanka is heavily dominated by Christian faith and churches. The cities well known for their churches include Colombo (of course!), Negombo, Batticaloa and Tewatte. Out of these, Negombo, a city on the western coast of Sri Lanka is popularly nicknamed as ‘Little Rome’. This city alone is home to 25 magnificent Roman Catholic Churches. These highly embellished churches include St. Mary’s, St. Sebastian’s, St. Joseph’s and St. Anne’s amongst others.

Tip: If you plan to visit more than one city, make sure you keep Negombo planned for the Christmas Eve. Believe us; you wouldn’t want to miss their traditional Sri Lankan Christmas.

Related: Don’t just stay in Colombo: 5 other cities to explore in Sri Lanka

6. Private Christmas Celebrations in Hiriketiya:

Christmas in Sri Lanka - what to do

“Let the Waves Hit your Feet and Sand be your Seat.” Image credit: Jan Arendtsz on Flickr

While a huge bunch of people love a thrilling Christmas, there are other who rather prefer a quiet and relaxing way to celebrate the festival. Hiriketiya is a hidden jewel of Sri Lanka with white sand beaches, blue ocean water, serene beaches and an escape from everything ‘hectic’.

A wide range of luxury hotels alike Jasper House in Hiriketiya will take you into a world which feels miles away from your ‘real world’. Jasper House, in particular, will be hosting a Christmas Day Brunch Party: complete with music, merriment and a Sri Lankan Burrito Bar.

To end it all, it is rightly said: “Christmas isn’t a season it’s a Feeling.” No matter where you go, as long as you carry the feeling of Christmas in your heart, you shall live by the spirit of Christmas!


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