Back home a full moon appears as a surprise. A chance gaze upward or a clear sky that allows the moon to shine bright would remind me of the beauty and mystery that lies above. I was so absorbed in the routine of everyday life that a full moon seemed random.
In the west we are so conscious of the passing layers of time. Seconds, minutes, hours quickly become days, weeks and years – we’re constantly looking forward to something – the end of work, the weekend, a holiday. Clocks go round autonomously, we’re surrounded by phones, watches, computers but amidst all the counting it’s like we’ve lost track of time.
Poya in Sri Lanka is the Buddhist public holiday that celebrates the full moon. It allows longer days to enjoy with family, moonlit dinners and a monthly connection to the natural cycle of light and darkness. Practicing Buddhists visit the temple for worship and the consumption of meat and alcohol is forbidden. In June the Poya day is called Poson and honours the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.
Our power to manipulate light has allowed us to escape the limitations of darkness but we have also become disconnected from the true progression of time. Poya was a reminder for me to acknowledge and appreciate the original time-keepers – the moon and the sun.