“It was during the incipience of dawn. The sky was super dark, and the crowd gathered to see the mystic and the fiery God. The drummers then began to beat in a rhythm that ambushed the spiritual side of me. Not only mine but the long wait that ended with the arrival of Hindu priests relieved the expectant as well as devotees, and filled the air with astonishment,” she exclaimed about Theyyam.
Well, that were the words from my friend who experienced her first Theyyam performance recently, which is the reason why I came up with this blog. The details she told me about this art form really fascinated me, and I felt the topic deserves a spot on my website. Besides, the intriguing facts about Theyyam are impressive! Growing up in Kerala, I have seen the minor versions of Theyyam during temple festivals, but the authentic ritual art is still unknown to me. Let us put this Theyyam on our bucket list together, but before that let us know some interesting facts about Theyyam.
- Originated in the northern side of Kerala, Theyyam is a popular ritual art form that encompasses dance, mime and music.
- There are more than 400 different kinds of Theyyam in Kerala, each with their music and choreography.
- The origin of this art form dates back to 1000 years and is connected to tribal animism.
- Trees, plants and animals are worshipped in the rituals, and some of them have blood sacrifices.
- Musical instruments such as Chenda, Elathalam, Kurumkuzal and Veekkuchenda are used in this ceremonious dance. Music is an essential part of Theyyam.
- Almost all small and big temples of Northern Kerala host Theyyam from December to April.
- Raktha Chamundi, Kari Chamundi, Muchilottu Bhagavathi, Wayanadu Kulaven, Gulikan and Pottan are some of the famous variations in Theyyam.
- The performers wear heavy cosmetics and splendid costumes.
- You will be awestruck with their performances with shimmering costume and twirling choreography with the firelight on hands.
- The performers undergo strict practices for this divine role from an early age. From making the costumes to learning the art form and doing the face painting, it takes years for one to acquire the skills.
- The dancers will not eat meat, drink alcohol or say lies during the last weeks before the performance. In short, it is mandatory for the dancers to have a pure life, only engaged in praying at the temple before the performance.
- The performers will dance/ spin for hours. Finally, they fall into the seat in front of the Hindu priests; later on, people will come to seek blessings in person.
Places To See Theyyam: Kannur, Bekal, Kasaragod, Karivalloor, Nileswaram, Kurumathoor, Cherukunnu, Ezhom, and Kunnathoorpadi.
Stay: There are all types of accommodation available in the Kannur district of Kerala. You can choose the one according to your requirement from bookings.com.
Transportation: You will get a taxi from your hotel or airport to the location you want to experience the Theyyam.
- Do check the Kerala Tourism website to see the Theyyam calendar. Also, consult with the locals about the timing of the event as there is a chance for changing the schedule.
- Make sure you switch off the flash while taking the photographs. Respect all cultures.
- Day time performances are there; however, it is better to catch the one at night/ early morning since it has fire involved.
Featured Image Credits (Theyyam): Kishor Kuttykrishnan
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