Theyyam
Project info

Theyyam is a ritual form of worship in northern Kerala, India, held annually in villages to protect agaist evil in the coming year. The performers of Theyyam, in total around 2.000 plus supporting staff and drum band, belong to the lower caste community. Irrespective of their own caste people of this region nevertheless consider Theyyam performers as a God and seek their blessing. It is visually a most impressive form of cultural heritage dating back hundreds of years and performed from December to April. The subject of each of the 400 types of Theyyam is the glory of divine heroes and celestial spirits. Each Theyyam participant represents a heroic character with divine power. Performers wear heavy make-up, huge masks and flamboyant costumes for dramatic appearance and spectacular presence. Headwear is the heaviest and largest part of the costume, these are made of different materials including bamboo sticks, wooden boards, peacock feathers, coconut leaves and flowers. It is believed that the mortal bodies of performers become one with immortal spirits and mythical figures to perform ritual dances and cast a trance over onlookers.