One of the most important Buddhist festivals around, Kandy Perahera takes place in the days leading up to the full moon in August. Drums, dancing, whips and fire make this a spectacle not to be missed!Legend has it that after Buddha’s cremation in the 5th century BC, one of his subjects took a tooth from the funeral pyre and smuggled it to Sri Lanka in the hair of an Orissan princess. When King Megavanna found out about it, he was so happy to have a relic of such importance on his island that he paraded it through the city for everyone to see. These days the tooth rests in the Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth Relic) and a replica casket is used for the festival. But the procession is no less colourful for it, with a mighty elephant carrying the golden casket through the torch-lit streets as revellers dance, sing and perform devotional acts to the booming drums. Look out for people with spikes in their backs, acrobatic fire performers and all manner of sights to accompany the melee. The loudest and most impressive procession happens on the final night, and on the following morning preparations are already under way for the following year’s celebrations. Why not explore world heritage-listed Kandy or check out the surrounding tea plantations and hill stations.