Theyyam is a visually impressive folk dance , popular in Northern part of Kerala,India. It is performed to honor Gods and Goddesses or heroes and ancestral spirits with divine power.
‘Daivam ‘ in local language – Malayalam – means ‘ God ‘ The word ‘Theyyam ‘ they say , is derived from it.‘ Theyyattam ‘ – the performance – is the ‘ Dance of God ‘
There are nearly 500 varieties of Theyyam , each having characteristic headgear , costumes , masks , make -up , music and rhythm of dance. It shows the cultural richness and diversity of region .
Basically , it is an artful performance of dance , sacred and dazzling ,with music , mime , light ,colours, and decor , incorporating rituals of primitive culture.The village folks assemble to watch the performance in large numbers.
Performers , after several weeks of preparation and several hours of make up , get into a trance ,and are in unison with Gods or immortal spirits that they represent . They perform spectacular ritual dances to the electrifying tune of musical instruments . Their words become prophecies, invocation and blessings . After the performance , the Theyyam distributes Turmeric powder to the devotees and bless them.
The dazzling dance drama is a treat to watch. No photograph can tell you the whole story. No video can bring you the real experience . There are no short cuts . You have to see it , to have the real feel.