Sri Lanka Fact
Sri Lanka Fact

27 Cultural Sri Lanka Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published April 12, 2021
  • Sri Lanka is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, just off the southeastern tip of India.[1]
  • Throughout its roughly 2,500-year history, Sri Lanka has been called, by various peoples, Taprobane, Serendib, and Ceylon. It was officially named Sri Lanka in 1972.[1]
  • The capital of Sri Lanka is Colombo.[7]
  • Sri Lanka celebrates its independence day on February 4th. It gained independence from Britain on that day in 1948.[7]
  • Sri Lanka is considered a "biodiversity hotspot" for its many endemic animal species, including a number of endangered species.[8]
  • Important celebrations and festivals in Sri Lanka include the Sinhala-Tamil New Years Festival in April, which signifies the end of harvest, and Vesak, where Sri Lankan Buddhists celebrate the life, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha.[8]
  • Sri Lanka Customs
    The practice of stilt fishing is dying out in Sri Lanka today because of unprofitability
  • Sri Lankan fishermen developed "stilt fishing" during World War II, when food shortages led to overcrowding on fishing beaches. Instead of standing on the beach, fishermen sit on crucifixes out in the water to fish.[2]
  • Sri Lanka suffered through several waves of domestic political terrorism during the 1970s and 80s. The government responded to attacks perpetrated by a resistance movement with counter-terrorist attacks.[6]
  • In Sri Lanka, it is common for Buddhist temples to also serve as libraries, schools, and nursing homes.[9]
  • Although Sri Lanka is famous for its "Ceylon Tea," the nation was actually the world's largest coffee producer until after the 1870s, when a fungal outbreak decimated the island's coffee plantations.[4]
  • Tea exportation is the second largest industry in Sri Lanka, after tourism.[4]
  • Sri Lanka's tea workers often face dangerous conditions as agricultural deforestation often leads to deadly landslides.[4]
  • Buddhism is Sri Lanka's major religion, practiced by over 70% of the population. Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity make up the remainder.[1]
  • Sri Lanka Religion
    Buddhism is woven deeply into nearly every aspect of Sri Lankan history

  • Sri Lanka is home to around 50,000 Malay people, an ethnic group from Indonesia. The Malay were originally brought to Sri Lanka by the British, who needed mercenaries that were accustomed to fighting in the climate and terrain of South Asia.[3]
  • Sri Lankan civilization has existed since the 6th century BC.[1]
  • Areas in Sri Lanka that are overly dry are kept fertile by an intricate irrigation system that the Sri Lankans have been developing for more than 2,000 years.[1]
  • The majority of Sri Lankans are poor farmers living in rural areas.[1]
  • One of Sri Lanka's famous landmarks, known as the "World's End," is a 4,000-foot, near-vertical cliff located in the highlands.[1]
  • The predominant language spoken in Sri Lanka is Sinhalese.[1]
  • Sri Lanka's literacy rate of 85% makes it one of the highest ranked among developing nations.[1]
  • Many of the university, professional, and technical degrees offered in Sri Lanka are free to students.[1]
  • Sigiriya Fortress
    Locals refer to Sigiriya Fortress as the Eighth Wonder of the World
  • Sigiraya Fortress, one of Sri Lanka's most popular tourist attractions, is a structure built atop a large column of stone during the 5th century AD. Originally built as a palace for King Kashyapa, it was used as a Buddhist Temple after the king's death.[5]
  • Malnutrition is one of Sri Lanka's major health problems.[1]
  • Sri Lankan "devil dancing" is a form of improvisational dance descended from the ancient Kandy culture.[1]
  • The government of Sri Lanka controls all radio and television broadcasting and most newspapers.[1]
  • Since gaining its independence, Sri Lanka has experienced frequent political strife between the Sinhala Buddhists, who control the government, and the island's minority populations.[6]
  • Sri Lanka's oldest piece of written history is the Dipavasma, a 4th-century chronicle that is believed to have been created by Buddhist nuns.[1]
  • Interesting Sri Lanka INFOGRAPHIC
    SriLanka Infographic Thumbnail

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