States Kerala Fairs & Festivals Theyyam Festival

Theyyam Festival Kerala

Theyyam is a grand dance festival in Kerala and is celebrated many regions of the state including Kasargod. Theyyam is considered as Dance Gods and the name has been given to it by adding two words ‘Deivam’ and ‘Aattam’, where ‘Deivam’ means God and ‘Aattam’ translates to dance. This dance is performed to honour the heroes and ancestral spirits.. The dance is performed in various places of North Malabar like Karivallor, Kurumathoor, Nileswaram, Ezhom, and Cherukunnu every year between December and April. And it is performed each day at Parassini Kadava Sri Muthappan Temple in Kannur.

It is said to be ritual dance in Kerala and is also known as Kaliyattam. This dance form incorporates a dance, and music with mime. Theyyam is believed to be distinguished into 400 forms each has its unique style, make-up, costumes, songs, choreography. The most prominent Theyyams are the Pottan, Gulikan, Bhagavati, Kari Chamundi, and Raktha Chamundi. Things worth noticing in Theyyam are the ornamental decorations, their size and appearance.

History of the Festival

This dance form dates back to Dravidian age and has is said to be the part of the ancient tribal culture of Kerala.

Duration of the Festival

4 Days

Highlights/ Important Rituals of the Festival

  • Some major music instruments include Chenda, Elathalam, Veekkuchenda, and Kurumkuzal
  • Main feature of theyyam is the makeup and costumes.
  • The power of goddesses, gods, spirits, heroes, demons and many mythological characters is exhibited in the dance.
  • Each Theyyam has different style of body painting. The headwear called ‘Mudi’ too varies.
  • The Kshethrapalan Theyyam and Sum Bhagavathis wear 50-60 feet high crowns made with bamboo splices and areca trees.
Theyyam Festival in Kerala

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