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Velakali - the dance of the soldiers

Velakali is a ritual dance of Kerala, South India that has a martial art tradition and is traditionally performed in connection with temple festivals.

Velakali may be performed in front of the deity, when it will be known as Thirumumbil Vela or it may be performed near the temple pond, when it will be known as Kulathil Vela.

The performers wear colorful dresses and headgear and carry swords and shields. Both percussion instruments and wind instruments are used as accompaniments for Velakali.

This ritual dance form is said to be symbolic of the fight between demi-gods and demons, the former representing goodness and the latter representing evil.