Theyyam

Theyyam is an ancient tradition of mostly North Kerala where various stories are enacted in dance form at a local temple. The one such performance I happened to catch took place in a temple at Azhikod, a small town in Kannur district. The performance started at 12 am sharp and went on till 4 am. Presenting a few pictures from the performance.

Some backstage footage of one of the dancers being readied by the makeup artist. The troupe comprises of backward or lower class of people who used to be (and in many places, are still) not treated as equals by the upper caste. But during the time of Theyyam, they dawn their makeup and are treated as Gods even by the upper caste.

Some backstage footage of one of the dancers being readied by the makeup artist. The troupe comprises of backward or lower class of people who used to be (and in many places, are still) not treated as equals by the upper caste. But during the time of Theyyam, they dawn their makeup and are treated as Gods even by the upper caste.

The make-up artist inspecting his work. This performance of Theyyam was on a relatively smaller scale that took place in the tiny village of Azhikode. The make-up wasn't as detailed as in most other Theyyam performances that happen in other major temples.

The make-up artist inspecting his work. This performance of Theyyam was on a relatively smaller scale that took place in the tiny village of Azhikode. The make-up wasn't as detailed as in most other Theyyam performances that happen in other major temples.

There were 4 acts in this particular performance. The performers of Kunharu Kurathiyamma wait their turn.

There were 4 acts in this particular performance. The performers of Kunharu Kurathiyamma wait their turn.

Nellkuthi gets blessed by the Gods.

Nellkuthi gets blessed by the Gods.

The musicians putting up a show.

The musicians putting up a show.

Kids as young as 8-year olds also form a part of this troupe.

Kids as young as 8-year olds also form a part of this troupe.

The performer descends into a trance during the performance. The exhausted performer is offered coconut water as an offering.

The performer descends into a trance during the performance. The exhausted performer is offered coconut water as an offering.

The performer is said to be possessed and in trance during the dance.

The performer is said to be possessed and in trance during the dance.

It is considered a holy experience to witness the performance. The dancer is seen blessing the audience.

It is considered a holy experience to witness the performance. The dancer is seen blessing the audience.

The next act, Nellkuthi is now ready to take the stage.

The next act, Nellkuthi is now ready to take the stage.

Headgear being adjusted by the team.

Headgear being adjusted by the team.

Nellkuthi beginning his act.

Nellkuthi beginning his act.

The performance goes on from 12am to 4am and it was replayed from 8am to 12pm at the temple.

The performance goes on from 12am to 4am and it was replayed from 8am to 12pm at the temple.