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Theyyam is a ritual dance form prevalent in the Malabar region of Kerala, glorifying the goddess Kali. Themes revolve around the triumph of the goddess over the demon Daruka and other evil characters. Always performed by men, they also enact female roles wearing exotic make up and colorful costumes.This art form is most popular in these parts of Kerala.
Theyyam also known as Kaaliyattam, is a ritual art form popular in north Kerala or the erstwhile Kolathunadu.The art form Theyyam incorporates dance, mime and music and enshrines the rudiments of ancient tribal cultures which attached great importance to the worship of heroes and the spirits of ancestors. Of the over 400 Theyyams performed, the most spectacular ones are those of Raktha Chamundi, Kari Chamundi, Muchilottu Bhagavathi, Wayanadu Kulaveni, Gulikan and Pottan. This art form is performed in front of shrines, sans stage or curtains, by persons belonging to the Vannan, Malayan and other related castes.
Thudangal (the beginning) and Thottam (the invocation) are the introductory rituals of the art form of Theyyam or the Thira, as it is known in south Malabar. The headgear and other ornamental decorations in these art forms are spectacular in sheer size and appearance. Karivalloor, Nileswaram, Kurumathoor, Parassini, Cherukunnu, Ezhom and Kunnathoorpadi in north Malabar are places where the art forms Theyyam and Thira are performed annually from December to April.
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