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Theyyam Festival

Theyyam is a form of worship where man dons the guise of God and propitiates the Gods through possessed dancing; Theyyam is also known by the name Kaliyaattom. The performance of Theyyam is supposed to make life prosperous and remove all hazards. Theyyam is perhaps the most significant ritualistic art form of Kerala – God’s Own Country. Theyyam has its etymological origin from Daivam, i.e., god in vernacular. Theyyam is performed in mainly in the North Malabar districts of Kannur and Kasargod in Kerala State, India. Though Thira prevalent in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts and Bhootham of South Canara region and Kasargod district have similarities with Theyyam, when one goes into the details, it will be seen that they are very different from each other. The staging area of Theyyam is known as kaavu. Kazhakam, Muchilottu, Mundiya, Sthhaanam, Kottam, are the other names for the staging area. Theyyam is also performed at home and fields by erecting temporary pathi as the staging area. Vishnumoorthy, Puthiyabhagawathi, Pottan, Kathivanoor Veeran, Gulikan, Rakthachaamunnddi, Madayilchaamunnddi, Vayanaattu Kulavan, Kutty Shaashsthan, are the popular Theyyam forms. It is estimated that there are about 450 Theyyam forms

Theyyam is performed between the 10th day of Thulam (Malayalam month corresponding to mid-October /mid-November) and middle of Idavam (Malayalam month corresponding to mid-May/mid-June). This is the period between the completion of the year’s harvest and preparations for the next year’s harvest. This period for Theyyam is the time for prayers for a good harvest, prosperity and general social solidity.

Theyyam usually considered as ritual art and the only members of particular communities like Vannan, Malayan are allowed to perform these rituals. The headgear and other ornaments that are clad on the performers body are huge in size and appearance. Different costumes like leaf dress, headdress, breastplates, bangles, arm ornaments and other body decorations are to be prepared in advance before the performance.
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