Why I Love Poya (Full Moon) Days

I love my own company and am quite happy to spend hours alone, working, reading, cooking, drinking, smoking or simply doing nothing at all. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy being with others too but sometimes I need my space and my close friends and family know that and respect it.

Not having had much time to blog over the last 2 weeks because of a heavy workload I thought I would stay home alone tonight whilst my other half and his family (and most of the neighbours it seems) have gone to a funeral house. It is a family member (uncle-in-law) but I was not close to him and as I’m not Buddhist (in the Sri Lankan sense) I really see no point in sitting around an open casket and drinking tea for hours well into the night and trying to decipher what the women are saying in Singhalese. The men, on the other hand, are all outside playing card games, drinking arrack (it’s Poya but the deceased was a policeman so who cares (!!)) and having a grand time. Most odd to an outsider, normal here.

So I am here with my windows and doors open in peace. It’s Poya, the full moon bank holiday which Sri Lanka celebrates every month. It’s beautiful and quiet – bliss.

Poya Day
Poya Day

Most people that know me would be surprised at this post:


  1. The wine stores are closed on Poya day
  2. The bank is closed on Poya day
  3. Most shops are closed on Poya day

So why do I love it? Because:

  1. You can plan in advance for all of the above (I have had the occasional hiccup and been without essentials (i.e. booze) but generally with the amount of Muslim shops in my town and one “Tourist approved” wine store which is open 247 except for Wesak things are fine 🙂 )
  2. Internet banking – go figure.
  3. The people are relaxed – now I know this sounds crazy because Sri Lankans bring relaxation to a new level at the best of times but on Poya days they are happier and smilier. Women and children visit temples dressed in white with flowers and incense,  men are relaxed because they have the day off. Families are together and for some reason the children seem to cry less and have more fun  (maybe that’s just me).
  4. Traffic is bearable.
  5. People are nicer too – some give money and food to the poor and others (peculiar but cute) refuse to kill ants or any other insects because it’s Poya.
  6. And last but not least, the sky at night on a clear day is absolutely stunning. And, when you’re alone, chilling out, star-gazing, I couldn’t think of a nicer place in the world to be at the moment.

6 thoughts on “Why I Love Poya (Full Moon) Days”

  1. I miss the monks chanting echoing through the jungle.
    Here in the UK the full moon sadly passes most people by….a curse of ‘eyes to the ground’. (The grey skies don’t help much either). Doesn’t matter…full moon. half moon, waning, waxing……people are generally oblivious to these cycles and the rituals and respect they deserve.


  2. Welcome back.
    Moon, I love, funerals not.
    There is a small ridge on the east of my house, even though I can see the SF bay and Golden gate on the west side (when the fog is not covering them), my favorite view is moon rising above the ridge. The harvest moon is my favorite, like a humongous Edammer kass with coating removed and delicious, like one of your recipes.
    Hope the heavy air that the passing person left behind will be blown away with the wind. I am off to celebrate 4th of July and I am not driving today!

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