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Theyyam at Onam Athachamayam in Tripunithura, Kerala

Theyyam (Theyyattam or Thira is a popular Hindu ritual form of worship of North Malabar in Kerala, India, predominant in the Kolathunadu area (consisting of present-day Kasargod, Kannur Districts, Mananthavady Taluk of Wayanad and Vadakara and Koyilandy Taluks of Kozhikode of Kerala.


As a living cult with several thousand-year-old traditions, rituals and customs, it embraces almost all the castes and classes of the Hindu religion in this region. ( Wiki - )


Theyyam is an artistic dance form where metaphysical thoughts and expressions of immortal souls are impersonated to a believer through a mortal body. Theyyam originated from "Kaliyattam" once practiced by the tribal community of north Kerala.


Theyyam had grown to the present form through many transformations since it’s origin. Landlords and chieftains of those days are the main forces behind many of such transformations. The community and its body began to use this art to propagate the major theme of social enforcement.


The artists are also encouraged by the authorities to introduce new themes into its traditional layers and classified different acts and expressions to match specific needs for their desire. The character representations were very broad. They range from mild to wild in representations.


Theyyam is a sect in which old heroes are sanctified and worshipped as the guardians of villages and homes. Yet, it includes a complex universe centered on the belief that a man can—after suitable mental, physical and spiritual preliminaries—don the costume of a particular deity and then become that deity.


In this elevated state he assumes superhuman and divine powers—speaking, moving, blessing and even healing as a god or goddess. What is crucial is that the person is not possessed by the spirit of the deity.

( via - )


Athachamayam at Tripunithara near Kochi (Ernakulam) in Kerala on Atham Nakshatram (asterism) in Malayalam Chingam Month announces the arrival of the Onam festival. The Athachamayam festival 2012 at Tripunithara is on August 21. There is a famous saying in Kerala – Atham Pathinu Ponnonam - the tenth day from Atham Nakshatram day is Thiruonam.


Theyyam, Kummatikali, Kavadi, Thiruvathirakali, Kathakali, Karakattam, Mayilattom, Ammankudam, Aattakavadi and Pulikali are some of the traditional art forms that are usually part of the processions. Traditional Kerala music like Panchavadyam, Chendamelam etc provide music to the Athachamayam procession. ( via )


Read my experience in Tripunithura Athachamayam 2012 here -

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Taken on August 21, 2012