Vap Full Moon Poya falls today. The rainy season commenced three months ago with Esala – ‘Vassana Kalo’. It comes to an end with the Vap Poya. The ‘Katina’ season ushers in the Buddhist calendar with Vap, which is popularly known as ‘Cheevara Masaya’.
Vap Poya marks the offering of the ‘Katina Cheevara’ or new robes to Buddhist monks, who observed ‘Vas’ – Rainy Retreat, beginning from Esala to Vap. ‘Katina’ – ‘Cheevara Pooja’, the noble meritorious deed is considered the most sacred wholesome act a Buddhist can perform. It is known as the Great Eight Merits or ‘Ata Kusal’. The word ‘Katina’ means unbreakable. It is believed that those who participate in ‘Katina’ religious activities obtain much merit and they live a happy life in this world as well as in the other world once they depart It was on Vap Full Moon Poya Day that the Buddha visited the heavenly abode of Tavutisa.
In this heavenly abode, He preached ‘Abidhamma’ to the Devas of that celestial plane, which resulted in the elevation of ‘Matru Deva’ to attain ‘Sotapanna’ and 80 crores of Devas to various stages of Sainthood. Eventually, He terminated his retreat in order to descend to the city gate of Sankassapura. He informed Arahat Moggallana about his arrival. Moggallana had paid him a visit seven days before.
Many religious programmes have been organized islandwide to mark the poya day.