The Independence Day in Sri Lanka falls on the 4th February as the island nation gained Independence from the British on February 4, 1948 (one year after its neighbour India).
The pride-filled day is of course a national holiday (and in 2018, it falls on a Sunday). The island-wide celebrations encompass parades in the major cities, flag-hoisting ceremonies with prominent guests, dances and cultural performances by children as well as adults. Schools celebrate it (in advance) as well as institutions and companies. The main celebrations - during which the president raises the national flag and delivers a speech at a nationally televised event - take place in the capital, Colombo, though it may also be held in Kandy. The speech (delivered in Sinhalese as well as in Tamil) highlights the achievements of the government during the past year, raises important issues and pays tribute to the country's national heroes. A military parade is part of the annual celebrations.
It is interesting to note that Sri Lanka was not just a British colony going by the name of Ceylon but had previously also been colonized by the Portuguese (16th century) and the Dutch (17th century). To date, many traces remain, in the form of architecture - such as the Dutch Fort in Galle - as much as culture and food. Some people are of mixed heritage or carry a formerly Portuguese, Dutch or English name.
The British, notably, were the ones who introduced the cultivation of coffee and later of tea, making the small island in the Indian Ocean one of the world's biggest and best-known exporters of tea. Ceylon tea is still highly sought after. If you stay with us, it's not even a 15-minute drive to the Ceylon Tea Museum located in Hanthana as well as to tea factories. Alternatively, you can use Kandy as a starting point for a scenic train journey to Nuwara Eliya and Ella, famous for their mountains and lush tea plantations.