Theyyam festival photo gallery, Kerala


Selected Photographs of Theyam festival at Chitilapadu in Kerala. Lasting for several days, the performers, said to be godsend, and messengers of god, wear heavy colorful masks and hang burning oil lamps over their body.


Selected Photographs of Theyam festival at Chitilapadu in Kerala. Lasting for several days, the performers, said to be godsend, and messengers of god, wear heavy colorful masks and hang burning oil lamps over their body.


17sCOLORS OF GOD

Wearing colourful costumes and heavy masks, they perform during the whole night. They are considered to be the messengers of gods, who can predict the future of people and bless onlookers.

18sPURIFICATION WITH FIRE

Several oil lamps are tied around the performer. Fire is said to be a purifier, the power to drive away the evil spirits and cleanse everything.

19s ENLIGHTMENT

The performers belong to so called lower castes of the community and spectators belong to higher casts. This is the day, people belonging to both the high and low caste, sit and dine together. The people belonging to high caste like Brahmins bow before these performers, the godsend: for blessings.

20sALL NIGHT LONG

The Theyyam is generally performed in front of the village Shrine which is enjoyed by spectators from all over the village. It is also performed in the houses as ancestor-worship with elaborate rites and rituals.

21sTHE ROCK

Drummers are an important part of any temple festival of Kerala, to give a rock to the festival. The Catholic Church in Kerala also employee them during feasts to blend the Christian festivals with the local tradition.

22sINVOLVED SO CLOSE

There is no stage or curtain or other such arrangements for the performance. The devotees would be standing or some of them would be sitting on a sacred tree in front of the shrine. Sometimes it is performed on school grounds where spectators can sit and watch the performance.

23sTHE ORA

The chief dancer who propitiates the central deity of the shrine has to reside in the rituals. This may be due to the influence of Jainism and Buddhism. Further, after the sun sets, this particular dancer would not eat anything for the remainder of that day (again possibly on account of a legacy of Jainism). His make-up is done by specialists and other dancers. The first part of the performance is usually known as Vellattam or Thottam. It is performed without proper make-up or any decorative costume. Only a small, red headdress is worn on this occasion.

24sTHE MASK

The dancer along with the drummers recites the particular ritual song, which describes the myths and legends, of the deity of the shrine or the folk deity to be propitiated. This is accompanied by the playing of folk musical instruments.

41sA NIGHTS WORK

Temple staffs prepare the crafts required to perform the Theyyam at Chittaliparampu, Kanoor District, Kerala. Artists spend several days and nights continuesly to prepare these crafts which are to be mounted/worn on performer.

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