Theyyam festival 2014

Theyyam festival 2014

Theyyam festival 2014 – A popular form of worship, Theyyam is predominantly celebrated in the Kolathynadu area of the region. The performers of Theyyam are people who belong to the lower caste of the society however they hold an imperative position in Theyyam. These performers are also known as malayanmar. People living in the Indian state of Kerala consider Theyyam as a deity and seek blessings from him.

Theyyam is a culturally rich festival which is essentially presented as a dance festival. Literally the meaning of Theyyam is God’s dance. Devotees in large number worship mother goddess along with serpents, trees and animals. Beginning from the month of Thullam according to the Malayalam calendar and ending in the month of Edavam, the season of Theyyam persists for about six months. Most of the Theyyam festivals are held in Kannur and Kasargod however the most prominent region is the Theyyam of Malabar region.

The preparations

When the performers want to appear as super humans, they have to be dressed up in colorful and peculiar costumes. The makeup is used according to the Theyyam dances. Essential costumes of the dancers include coconut tree leaves which have been designed according to theme, headgear and lighted wicks.

The headgears of the performers are unique and one of a kind. They are massive and specially designed. The uduthukettu is a waist dress which is prepared with the help of bamboo and arecanut tree. Lighted wicks which are fixed with the waist dress are specific of Theyyattom. Faces of the dancers are decorated with the help of colored paper and red cloth. Red colored flowers are sometimes used to make the performers appear more attractive.

With dazzling make-up, red masked faces and heavy and unique costumes, the dancers perform on the rhythm of folk tunes presenting the ancient legends and the charisma of the state. They present a beautiful performance that can leave the visitors mesmerized. Theyyam represents the transition of a man into god and this is the charm of God’s own country- Kerala.

Theyyam dance

Male members of the community belonging to a particular caste perform Theyyam. Some of the castes which can perform Theyyam are Koppalan, Malayan, Vannan, Munnutton, Chungathan and Anjoottan.

The Theyyam dance performance traces its roots back to the ancient tribal culture which dates back to Dravidian age. The dance performances lay great importance on worshiping ancestral spirits and heroes. Theyyam witnesses a fascinating amalgamation of music, dance and mime. Veekku chenda, kurumkuzhal and chenda are some of the musical instruments which are used by the performers.

There are various forms of Theyyam which are performed every year and some of the most famous are:

  • Vishumoorthi

Complicated rituals are included in the performance of Vishumoorthi. The drumbeats are enchanting and can be heard from a distance. This Theyyam narrates a fascinating story of Palanthai Kannan. In Agniravesham, devotees stand around the pyre and pray for the vishnumoorthi Theyyam who jumps into the burning pyre.

  • Pudikutti Amma

Mother of God Muthappan, Pudikutti amma is worshiped by devotees in large number. She was given the position of a goddess after Muthappan became god. Sree Padikkutti Mahadevi temple has been constructed in honor of Padikkutti Amma.

  • Puthiya Bhagavathy

Puthiya Bhagavathy is alleged to be the main deity of a large number of temples in Kannur which also includes Thalikavu. It is believed that she appeared from the sacrificial fire when the saints started homa to cure Lord Shiva of small pox.

  • Perum Kaliyattam

At some places, Theyyam festival is celebrated after every 12 years and such celebration are called as Perumkaliyattam. In the year 2008, Perumkaliyattam was celebrated in different temples which include Kalayikode Muchilot Kavu, Ramanthali Muchilot Kavu, and Mandur Padinjatta Thiruvarkat Bhagavathy Temple.

  • Sree Muthappan Theyyam

While Theyyams are usually performed seasonally, Muthappan Theyyam is celebrated all around the year. Muthappan temples are present all around in North Malabar and each has its own significance. The rituals in these temples are done by the people belonging to Thiyya community.

Influence of Hindu sects of Vaishnavites, the followers of Lord Vishnu, Shaivites, Lord Shiv followers and Shakteyas, Goddess Shakti followers can be seen during the dance performances. Besides everything else, Theyyam is supported by various folk songs. Along with the theme of worshipping animals and goddess, it also narrates the woes of individuals who lost their lives in the battle and the tales of the women who committed suicide. Such individuals are honored by the performers who perform in front of the temples.

Alternatively, Theyyam is also called as Kaliyattom at various places. Kaliyattom denotes a sacred dance performance which is done by the devotees for goddess Kali. Some people believe that Kaliyattom is called as Theyyattom because every village or “thera” was bound to give a performance. Theyyattom is celebrated in two stages:

Thottam: During this stage the preliminary rituals are done by the devotees.

Theyyam: The second stage in which songs are recited in the praise of the deity.

A visit to Kerala during the festive celebrations can be an amazing and fulfilling experience. Large decorative headgears and dramatic costumes add an interesting touch to the performance. So remember to plan your trip during the celebrations time.


  • When to celebrate Theyyam Festival in 2014:

Perumthitta Tharavad Kottamkzhy is falling on 7 December and will last till 16 December, Kuttikkol Thampuratty Theyyam is falling on 23 February and will last till 26 February and Muchilottu Kavu Theyyam is falling on 3 April and it will last till 11 April.

  • When to celebrate Theyyam Festival in 2015:

Perumthitta Tharavad Kottamkzhy is falling on 7 December and will last till 16 December, Kuttikkol Thampuratty Theyyam is falling on 23 February and will last till 26 February and Muchilottu Kavu Theyyam is falling on 24 March and it will last till 1 April.

  • When to celebrate Theyyam Festival in 2016:

Perumthitta Tharavad Kottamkzhy is falling on 6 December and will last till 15 December, Kuttikkol Thampuratty Theyyam is falling on 24 February and will last till 27 February and Muchilottu Kavu Theyyam is falling on 10 April and will last till 18 April.