Also known as the Festival of the Tooth, Esala Perahera is celebrated spectacularly in the country of Sri Lanka yearly in July or August. It is one of the oldest festivals to be celebrated there and is hosted in the city of Kandy.
This festival can be traced back centuries ago and started off as an anual event to pay homage to the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. The processions and celebrations span over around 10 nights and each night, the streets are adorned in glorious in yellows, reds and orange. Oil lamps and fire-carrying dancers set the night abaze in the midst of deeply entrenched tradional dances. Surrounded by hundreds of opulently-draped elephants and carriages, the Relic is carried by the most gargantuan of the lot. The Howdah on its back is intricately designed with gold, precious stones and is laced with colours. The relic-bearing elephant then walks through a flurry of music, sound and dances until it reaches the end of its journey.
Esala Perahera, done over many nights, is complex and consists of various proceedings and processions. These are done to show their fidelity to the various gods being honored, not just Lord Buddha. The air is thick with devotion and excitement as thousands make their way through the streets. Anyone and everyone can take part in the proceedings to walk beside the gentle giants.