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.
Vap Poya was significant even during the life and times of Lord Buddha. It was on such a day that the Buddha ended a ‘Vas’ retreat for the seventh time since attaining Enlightenment. He had spent this time in the celestial abode of Tavatissa, where He had preached the Abhidhama to the deities headed by Matrudeva. He ended the retreat by descending near the gates of Sankassapura where he preached the Dhamma to devotees flocked there.
Furthermore, Vap Poya paved the way for the arrival of Sanghamitta Theri. The advent of Buddhism took place with the advent of ‘Dhammarajassa Savaka’ Arahat Mahinda Thera. King Devanampiyatissa’s sister-in-law Anula, was very keen to enter the Order of Bhikkunis. Therefore, the King made a request to Emperor Asoka to send Sanghamitta Theri.