An ancient art form, more than eight centuries old, Theyyam is one of the most spectacular of the ritual arts forms of Northern Kerala. Theyyam performances include the myths and stories of the many gods and celestial spirits in Kerala mythology, and its performers are vigilant and committed to guarding the purity of the art form and preserving its ritualistic heritage.
Theyyam, believed to have been derived from the word Daivam, meaning god, is based on the belief that immortal spirits enter into mortal bodies to perform a ritual dance of divine revelation. The spectacular variety of Theyyam performances are possible through the use of elaborate facial make-up, captivating headgear, special costumes and unique ornaments. Theyyams are staged in various temples of Malabar, usually in front of the village shrine, with regularity each year. As performances are on an "open stage" they can also be showcased in traditional Malabar households during festive or special occasions.
The calendar below contains illustrations and images of 100 Theyyam festivals in Malabar. It highlights temple locations, dates of performances and details of the contact persons associated with upcoming shows. This collection includes one hundred videos of Theyyam performances at various geographical locations throughout North Malabar. The videos will provide a general idea of the costumes, rhythm, music and dance of this rich art form.
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