Theyyam Festival Kerala India

Theyyam Festival In Kerala India

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The Theyyam Festival Kerala India a popular Hindu ritual of worship. It is an ancestral cult for Hindu population, which is divided by castes.

Theyyam tells the story of people who lost their lives in battlefield, pangs of women who committed suicide or persons killed by the local chieftains. Such heroes or gods are honoured through theyyams, the ceremonies performed in front of shrines.

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. The dancer comes in front of the shrine and gradually “metamorphoses” into the particular deity of the shrine.

There are about 450 known forms of « theyyams » and each has got its own myth and style of costumes, make-up, choreography and songs. After the dance, people also consult the performers because they can see the future. There is a charge for the consultation.n attend to a popular Hindu ritual of worship called Theyyam. It is an ancestral cult for Hindu population, which is divided by castes.

The Theyyam worship is special because it involves all the castes and classes of the Hindu people living in the region. Theyyam is performed by male members of particular castes in most cases, but in the north of Kerala, some women do it to embody particular goddesses or heroins. Men from Malayan, Pulayan, Vannan, Anjoottan, Munnutton, Velan, Chungathan, Koppalan and Mayilon are part of the castes who perform Theyyam. The performers of Theyyam are all members of the indigenous tribal community, and they have an important position in Theyyam. This is unique, since only in Kerala, do both the upper- caste Brahmins and  lower-caste tribals share an important position in a major form of worship…

Photos & Text Eric Lafforgue, Copyright The Tribe Press Agency / Eric Lafforgue
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