Dance of the Gods

Theyyam and the possibilities around

theyyam dancer.jpg

The lore is such. It was an era dominated by the caste system – where people of lower castes were not even allowed to set foot on the shadow of one of upper caste. In such circumstances the Gods descended upon earth and bestowed the lower caste with the privilege of organizing the Theyyam ritual – a dance form that blesses those in need of one.

In the quiet green spaces of Kerala, Theyyam stands out as a singular ritual. The costumes are heavy and the headgear weighs down upon the head like a stone. But during this dance, performers supposedly go into a trance. It is said that the spirits take over the body – to the extent that the performers do not remember the dance after having performed it.

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