1.3. Dances of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a wealth of Dances mentioned in its very rich folklore, literature and poetry: Sandesa, Kavi, Kausilumina, Kuweini Asne etc. Sri Lanka's remote past was wrapped in folk religion with its colourful ceremonies from the myths and legends of the Ramayana. In these legends, the God King Ravana is projected as an exponent of dance forms.

This was before the advent of Buddhism in the country and though there is no place for the beliefs of folk religion, the rural people have lived with their myths, legends and folklore, translated them into ceremonies rituals and dances and kept alive their heritage alive. 

The folk dances celebrate the harvests and the new moons. The Kolam dances from the Low Country (South) are still rich with its ancient ceremonial devil masked dances as well as fire dances which form an integral part of the Thovil and Bali ceremonies in the exorcism of malefic spirits. 

The creation of lacquered Devil Masks - so freakish and intricate, and the preparation of the ritualistic altars have all stimulated the aesthetic sense of the villager and animated the life of the countryside. 

Devil masked dancers accompanied by Thovil drummers

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