THEYYAM

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Theyyam or Theyyatam is one of the best beautiful traditional ritualistic performing art form of North Kerala (Malabar). It is the product and a synthesis of ritual, vocal and instrumental music, dance, martial arts, painting, sculpture and also literature
Theyyam festivals usually are from October to May every year. The colorful pageantry, the enthusiastic crowd and the religious fervor is an out of the world experience Theyyams are performed by the male members except for Devakuth Theyyam at Thekkumbad.

Perum Kaliyattam

In some Kavus the Theyyam festival is conducted after an interval of 12 or more years. These kinds of festivals are known as Perumkaliyattam. In 2008, Perumkaliyattams were celebrated in Ramanthali Muchilot Kavu, Kalayikode Muchilot Kavu and Mandur Padinjatta Thiruvarkat Bhagavathy Temple. From 19 to 24 February 2008 Perumkaliyattam was held in Kenamangalam Kazhakam, Pallikkera

Theyyam is a synthesis of all the prominent characteristics of primitive, tribal, religious worship in harmony with nature. "Even the followers of Islam are associated with the cult in its functional aspec. The cult of Bhagawathi, the Mother Goddesses has an important place in Theyyam. Besides this, the practices like spirit-worship, ancestor-worship, and cult -worship, tree-worship, animal worship, serpent-worship, the worship of the Goddesses of disease and the worship of Graamadevataa (Village-Deity) all form an integral part for Theyyam. Bhagavathy (the Mother-Goddess that is the Divine  United form of the three  Goddesses namely, Brahmani [ Saraswathi ] , Vaishnavi [Lakshmi ]& Shivani [ Durga ] always is  a core theme.  
 
Due to late revival of the Vaishnavite movement in Kerala, it does not have a deep impact on Theyyam.  Only a few deities are depicted for Theyyam Two major Theyyam deities representing Vaishnavism are Vishnumoorthi and Daivathar. All other Theyyams usually fall under Shaivism or Shakthism. The dance or invocation is generally performed in front of the village temple or Kavu. It is also performed in the houses. The whole performance is colorful, enchanting backed by elaborate rites and rituals.

The first phase of the performance is Thottam. It is performed without elobarate proper make-up or any decorative other than a red head gear..

Face paintings are of different languages like vairadelam, kattaram, kozhipushpam, kotupurikam & prakkezhithu. Mostly primary and secondary colors are applied.

The Theyyam performer has intricate foot movements –Kalasams Each Kalaasam is repeated systematically from the first to the eighth step. The whole performance is to an accompaniment musical instruments, vocal recitations, colored by eye catchy  makeup and costumes. In all Theyyam in its ritualistic form is fascinating and tantalizing.

Some important Theyyam performances
Padarkulangara Bhagavathy
Worshipped in several Kavus as a mighty Goddess.. The lengthy head gear - crown and ornaments of the Bhagavathy seem to add to her divine appearance.
Puliyur Kali
Performed in Karakkakavu  near Cheruvathur once in three years. It is also performed in Kunathur Maadam near to Udinur.
Pullikarim Kali
Pullikarimkali is performed in Karakkakavu, near Cheruvathur once every three years and at Koovapratthu Kavu Kavinisseri (in Cherukunnu) every two years. The Theyyam representation here is of Goddess Bhagvathy.
Marapuli
Marapuli Theyyam is considered the son of Pulikandan and Pullikarimkali. Performance – usually at Marathakkad Sri iver paradevatha kshethram, Kuppam, Taliparamba
Pulimaruthan
Pulimaruthan Theyyam is considered the son of Pulikandan and Pullikarimkal and is worshipped in different Kavus
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Puthiya Bhagavathy

Belief is that when Lord Shiva was afflicted by smallpox, Rishis started a homa [ holy offering by fire ] and Puthiya Bhagavathi rose from the fire and cured Shiva. Puthiya Bhagavathy is a prime deity in almost all the Kavus in Kannur..  Edakalam Puthiya Bhagvathy Kavu  near Chuzhali dates back to    five hundred years.