Posts tagged Theyyam
January’s Thiruvathira is a celebration of folk dancing and singing by young Malayali women. In Trichur(Thrissur), the Pooram and Vela festivals(March-April) are among Kerala’s best known events. Thrissur Pooram is an eight-day spectacle wilth parades of decked up elephants, music, and fireworks. On the sixth day of the seven-day Arattupuzha Pooram, held at the Ayyappa temple 1.4 km(9 mi) from Trichur,61 elephants feature in the proceedings. In the north, Kannur and Kasargode are known for the extraordinary Theyyam(November-May), a religious dance of tribal origin in which participants in terrifying makeup and elaborate costumes are venerated by Worshipers. The weaklong harvest festival, Onam(late August-early September), is celebrated with floral displays and snake-boat racing. In the Trichur and Palakkad districts. Onam brings Pulikali (or Kaduvakali)-men brightly painted as green, yellow, orange, and red striped tigers- to the streets.
Karala’s most popular ritualistic art form, theyyam, is believed to predate Hinduism and to have developed from folk dances performed in the kavus that are abundant throughout northern Kerala.
Theyam refers to both the form of shape of the deity or hero portrayed, and to he ritual. There are around 450 different theyyams , each with a distinct costume, Face paint, bracelets, breastplates, skirts, garlands and especially headdresses are exuberant, intricately crafted and sometimes huge . today’s theyyam performances have morphed to incorporate popular Hindu deities and even Muslim characters.
The performer prepares for the ritual with a period of abstinence , fasting and mediation, which extends into the laborious make-up and costume session. During the performance, the performer loses his physical identity and speaks, moves and blesses the devotees as if he were the deity. There is frenzied dancing and wild drumming, and a surreal, otherwouldly atmosphere is created, the kind of atmosphere in which a deity indeed might, If it so desired, manifest itself in human form.
The theyyam season is October to May, during which time there will be an annual ritual at each kavu. Theyyams are also often held to bring good fortune to important events, such as marriages and house warmings. See above for details on how to find one.