Ill full moon poya day is one of the Buddhist important religious observances. The Ill full moon poya day falls on November 2013. It is the last poya of the “Vassa”Rainy Season and number of important incidents occurred on this day. Since that this is a significant day in the Buddhist Calendar.

When is Ill Full Moon Poya Day 2013?

The Ill Full Moon Poya Day in Sri Lanka is on the 17th of Sunday, November 2013.Its a public, Bank and Mercantile holiday in according to the Gregorian calendar.

The day of Full Moon is not same as in the Gregorian calendar day. Sometimes the official date of a poya public holiday in Sri Lanka is not same as on the Gregorian date. The actual holiday is based on the phases of the moon at the mid night of the day.

What is a poya day and significance of a poya day?

The Poya Day is called as the religious observances day in Buddhists Term. The Sinhala mean poya is derived from the Pali and Sanskrit form Uposatha (from upa + vas: to fast) primarily signifying “fast day.” Fasting on this day was a pre-Buddhist practice.

The monks use the monthly moonless day (called amavaka in Sinhala) and the full-moon day for their confessional ritual and recitation. The Buddhist devotee observes the poya day by visiting a temple for the rituals of worship and, often, by undertaking the Eight Principles.

The Eight principles of percepts are:

(1)  I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying the life of every living being.

(2)I undertake the precept to refrain from obtaining the things not given and which are not mine.

(3)  I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misbehaviors.

(4)  I undertake the precept to refrain from speaking false speech.

(5) I undertake the precept to refrain from having liquors that cause intoxication and heedlessness.

(6) I undertake to refrain from food after mid-day.

(7) I undertake to refrain from dancing, singing, music, and from ornamenting the body with garlands, scents, unguents, etc.

(8) I undertake to refrain from the use of high and luxurious beds and seats.

If an individual decides to observe the Eight Precepts, he/she would wake up early, bathe and clad oneself in clean white garments, and go to the nearest temple. The present monk in temple administers the precepts to the entire group assembled for the purpose. Next, they would spend the day to a timetable which would include sermons, pujas (act of worships), periods of meditation, and Dhamma (Dharma) discussions. At meditation centers there will be more periods of meditation and few sermons and pujas.

Importance of Ill poya day

Il Full Moon Poya is a significant day in the Buddhist calendar. On the ill poya day temples are filled with devotees since there are many religious ceremonies such as Sermons, Dharma (Dhamma) discussions, observance of the Eight Principles (Atasil) and offering alms.

The Il Full Moon Poya was also significant in the Buddha hood of Maitriya Buddha.

Il Full Moon Poya begins at the end of the “Cheevara Masaya”. This is offered to the Bhikkhus (monks) at the end of their rainy season or Vas period of three months. With Vap Poya Katina Pinkama (type of Alms giving) comes to an end. This is followed by Il Poya, according to the traditional Sinhala Buddhist calendar.

The Ill Full Moon Poya Day, This sacred day celebrates:

  • The Buddha Gautama’s declaration of the next Buddha Maitriya.
  • The sending of first 60 missionary Arahats out to world.
  • The death of the general of the Dhamma: Sariputta.
  • The Buddha’s 1st explanation about Anapanasati Breathing Meditation.

First they celebrate the Future Buddha Maitriya Bodhisattva and then the other events:

  • The announcement of the future Buddha hood of Maitriya Bodhisattva
  • The first Buddhist Missionary activity took place by sending out sixty Arahats.
  • The Jatila Brothers entering the Buddhists Sangha (group).
  • Festival of “Deveharohana” or Ascend to heaven by Gautama Buddha.
  • Acceptance of a robe from the future Buddha Maitriya, who was a disciple of the Buddha.
  • Passing away of chief disciple Sariputta of Gautama Buddha.
  • The relic “Dakuna Aku Datuwa” or Right Canine Tooth put in the first Dagoba Thuparama Chatiya. (Thuparamaya temple).

Furthermore, Buddhists in Sri Lanka commemorate Il Poya Day as the “Cheevara Masaya”. The offering of “Katina Cheevara” is considered as a highly worthy act, which is held in most of the temples during this month of Ill. The Katina Cheevara is bought in their respective temples in procession and offered to resident Upasampada monks, who observed Vas (Rainy retreat or fast) for nearly three months.

Following are the important events take place on that scared day.

(1)The announcement of the Buddha hood of Maitriya Bodhisattva

The Buddhists believe that their future Buddha will be Maitriya. He was also called as Ajita – the “invisible Buddha.

Bodhisattva will achieve Buddha hood. Maitriya Bodhisattva was born to a noble family in the city called Sankassa. His father was known as Siriwaddha. Maitriya had his education under the, great teacher Disapamok Aacharya. After receiving the order, at the ending part of Vassana or rainy season, Venerable. Maitriya Thero received a valuable pair of robes, which he presented to Gautama Buddha (The last of 25 Buddha’s) as Maitriya Bodhisattva, in a previous birth.

After receiving the robe one of the blessed one uttered:

Dear Monks ,this Bhikkhu will be the future Buddha .He will be born in the kingdom of  Ketumati.The emperor will also bear the same name Sankha.His father’s name will be Brahma and he will be the chief consultant of the king. His mother’s name will be Brahmavati.He will attain Buddha hood under a Naga Tree.

(2)The first sixty Arahats addressed by Sakyamuni Buddha .

Oh Bhikkhus for the Fortune of the many, for the Success of the many, through Humanity to the World, Go you Forth, and spread the Doctrine of Buddha Dhamma for the benefit to Devas and Human Beings

In this way, the first Buddhist Missionaries commenced their journey on Il Poya Day.

(3)The Jatila Brothers

The three Jatila Brothers named Uruwela, Nadi and Gaya. They lived in Hermitages near to the River called Neranjana. They had many disciples. The most blessed one proceeded to the hermitage of Jatila Uruwela and performed “Perahara” spiritual power or super natural magic and later converted all three brothers and made them as followers to Buddhism.

(4)Passing away of Sariputta Thero.

The death of the Sariputta, the Senior Chief Disciple, is on Il Poya Day. A week before his death, he visited his lovable mother Rupasari, who did not believe in the Triple Gem (Buddhists religion or “three Sinhala”). She was living in a village named Nalaka, in the Magadha Province. Sariputta Thero’s main ambition was to make his mother a follower of Buddhism. After listening to her son Sariputta‘s sermon .He attained Sotapanna or the first stage out of four stages towards the realization of the liberation.


This Full Moon Poya Day signifies the conclusion of Katina season which is known as the Cheevara Masaya or the month of robe (the month for offering new robes to the Venerable Bhikkhus who have observed the ‘Vas’ fast known as the Katina Pinkama).Those Venerable Bhikkhus who had been observing ‘Vas’ or the rainy retreat of three months receive the Katina Cheevara or the Katina Robe at a ceremony prepared by the Dayakas or the members of those relevant temples with the  related Venerable Bhikkhus in whose temple the ‘Vas’ was observed.

The Theravada Bhikkhus, who have received the higher ordination, enable to observe the ‘Vas’ and they are liable to receive the Katina Cheevara. In three months of the Vassana period, the Ven. Bhikkhus who have observed Vas do not walk on Pindapatha (bowl) rounds in the morning. They are offered with Dana or alms by the dayakas who have invited them for the observance of ‘Vas’.