Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teyyam, Theyyam

Theyyam Kaliyatam
The Theyyam can be characterized as a dance form glorifying the Theyyam, or deity, who is believed to bless and arbitrate amongst the people of the villages. The men who perform the Theyyam ritual, after extensive mental, physical and spiritual preparations "become" deities representing both male and female gods. Wearing spectacular costumes and headdresses and with their human features hidden behind heavy mask-like make-up, they enter a shrine to make the final transformation from performer to divine being. The defining moment comes when the performer gazes into a mirror and sees not his own made-up face but the reflection of the deity. Once this line has been crossed, devotees can directly approach, honor and question a deity belonging to an extraordinary pantheon of divine beings, consisting not only of gods and goddesses but also of deified ancestors, warrior heroes, animals, ghosts and spirits.

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