After seven months of restless performance of the beloved ritual art of Theyyam in the Sacred Groves and Temple Shrines all across the length and breadth of North Kerala, the Theyyam Season in Kerala comes to an end every year by the first week of June.
Malabar or the Northern Part of Kerala is known as the land of Theyyam. Theyyam dance is the incarnation of gods and goddesses, performed on a yearly basis at the worshipping places of the residents of a village or a region.
Theyyam is, to this date, performed sticking to the ritualistic practices – adhering to the dates of the Malayalam Calendar. This particular schedule is referred to as the Theyyam Calendar. According to the Theyyam Calendar, Theyyam season begins on the Tenth of the month of Thulam. This day is observed as the ‘Thulappath’ or the ‘Pathamudayam’ day.
Pathamudayam means the ‘tenth-day’ or the ‘tenth dawn’ of the month of Thulam. Thulam mostly corresponds to the last weeks of the months of October or first of November according to the Theyyam Calendar. Checkout latest Theyyam Calendar by Tyndis for Theyyam dance details.
Once the Thulam 10th has arrived, Theyyam Season slowly attains its pace and reaches its peak during the months of January to April – during which many mega festivals called the ‘Perumkaliyattam‘ occurs. Usually, Theyyam dance is performed ritualistically in an interval of one year at the worship places. This is known as the ‘Kaliyattam’.
It also happens that certain temples or sacred groves are only assigned to perform Theyyam dance once in every 12 or more years. These performances are called ‘Perumkaliyattam’ or the Grand Festival.
The Theyyam Season stretched from Thulam 10th till the Mid of Edavam – another Malayalam month corresponding to late May or early June. Mid-June is referred to as the ‘Edavappathi’ in Malayalam. ‘Edavappathi’ is the time for the Kerala Monsoons. In any given season from the 10th of Thulam to the winding up on the 15th of Edavam, the Sacred Shrines and Forest Groves of North Kerala witness the ritualistic divinity of Theyyam dance.
During this season, in different regions of North Kerala which are divided on the basis of the yesteryear ‘Swaroopams’ or local kingdoms, major Kaliyattams and Perumkaliyattam Festivals are locally announced and performed sticking to the rules and regulations like Theyyam dance at Andalur Kavu Festival. Tyndis arranges special Theyyam Tour Packages to experience such Theyyam dance.
In the 2019-20 year, the Theyyam season began on October 27th at the Anjoottambalam Veerarkkavu Bhagavathy Temple in Nileshwar and has ended with the Kalasam at the Mannampurathu Kavu in Nileshwar and Kaliyattam at Kalarivathukkal Bhavathy Temple in Kannur in June. Nileshwar is know as the home of Kshethrapalakan Theyyam.
In the Swaroopams separating regions of North Kerala, the Kolathunadu or the Kannur region marks the end of the Theyyam Season with the Kalasam or the grand festival at the Madayi Kavu Thiruvarkkattu Bhagavathy Temple in the month of Edavam. In the Northern Region including Kasaragod, the Theyyam Season comes to end with the festival at the Mannampurath Kavu in Nileshwar.
The Theyyam Season is regarded as the season of immense pleasure and hard work for the Theyyam artists and their families. The communities performing Theyyam dance and doing activities related to it are considered as the direct representatives of the powerful gods and goddesses.
Theyyam artists incarnate the form of the divine and perform the divine dance to mediate to their dear god on behalf of the people of their village or regions. It is considered that the performance of Theyyam dance every year brings in prosperity and well-being to the villages of North Kerala.
And for the Theyyam artists and their family, the Monsoon is often a period of misery – wherein they don’t get to perform Theyyam and have to attend for other jobs to earn their bread! They wait for the commencement of the next Theyyam Season as per the Theyyam Calendar. It is during this time that they could manage to give some rest to their bodies after the hectic dance and physical activities during the performance of Theyyam dance.
For the people in the villages, it’s time to live on with the blessings and look ahead with utmost devotion for the next Theyyam season – when they can again seek blessings to their dear gods!
In Theyyam, there are 450+ Theyyakkolams. Some of these fall into the prominent and ritually important category. The Kolams or the forms are initially classified based on the aspects of Shakti (Goddess Power) – ‘Bhagavathy’, ‘Chamundi’ and ‘Kurathi’ Kolams. Another broad classification includes the incarnations of the Shaivik powers – Pottan, Gulikan, Bairavan etc. They are performed as the manifestations of Lord Siva.
These Kolams are all performed across the length and breadth of North Kerala, in the temples and groves during the entire period of Theyyam Season. Kolams like that of Kathivanoor Veeran, Muchilottu Bhagavathy, Vayanattu Kulavan etc. are of utmost importance. After this, it’s time for the Divinity to get back to their eternal meditation, giving the promise of safeguarding the people for the coming days.
Some of the famous Theyyam that are specially included in Tyndis Theyyam Tour Packages are Kathivanoor Veeran, Kandanar Kelan, Theechamundi, etc. This Theyyam are best picks for Theyyam Photography Tours. Theyyam Photography Tours cater for photographers and tourists willing for photography experiences in Kannur or Kasaragod. Theyyam is one of the best photographic events in Kerala. Theyyams require some great photography skills to capture their enchanting performance into brilliant frames! Once you have experienced Tyndis Theyyam Photography Tours, without a doubt, you shall agree that Theyyam dance is one of the best visual treats to be photographed!
Get in Touch with Tyndis for learning more about Theyyam Season, Theyyam Calendar details, etc. Tyndis arranges for special Theyyam Tour Packages including Theyyam Photography Tours, Theyyam Documentary Packages, Interaction with Theyyam Artists, etc. Explore Top Theyyam Tour Packages and Theyyam Photography Tours at Tyndis Tours.
Image Credits | Prasoon Kiran (Cover), Sudeep Komath, Tyndis Theyyam Photography Tour Team