Respecting local traditions in Sri Lanka
The people behind WioWiKi are people with an insight to Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan way of life. We hence feel we should inform people visiting Sri Lankan about a few rules to be observed and a few things that are simply not done in Sri Lanka.
Things to be done while your stay in Sri Lanka
Remove shoes before entering any religious building. Keep your shoulders and knees covered. Keep a scarf or sarong folded in your handbag if you are wearing summer clothes. It can come in handy.
Men are not supposed to cover their heads with any kind of hat, cap, bandana, etc. except inside mosques. Women can keep their heads covered almost everywhere.
If you do not know if a place is sacred or not, consider it as sacred, even if the place is in ruins.
If you wish to perform circumambulation around a sacred edifice or statue, you are supposed to do it in the clockwise direction.
Monks: Sri Lankans give them great respect. This also applies for public transport, where they are allotted priority seats. Do not photograph them without permission. If a monk takes you around a temple, it is advisable to give a donation. However, monks are not supposed to handle money. Politely ask them to show you the donation box.
If there is no cutlery at the table, use your right hand and never the left hand, even if you are a left-handed person.
Things that are not to be done during your stay in Sri Lanka
All statues of the Buddha are considered sacred. Do not photograph yourself with you back turned to the statue.
Due to restrictions imposed during the civil war, photography remains forbidden in many places for security reasons. Important infrastructures such as airports, ports and military areas are not supposed to be photographed.
If you are a couple, do not be overly demonstrative in public.
Do not wear skimpy outfits.
Do not carry alcohol if you are invited to someone’s house. Sweets are best.
Do not hurt religious or political sentiments during discussions.
Do not smoke in streets and public places.
Do not engage in unlawful activities such as drug-trafficking or prostitution.