Theyyam is a traditional ritual dance form of northern Kerala, in India. The word 'Theyyam' originated from the Malayalam word 'Daivam' which means 'God'. Theyyam is noted for the very special costumes and facial decorations used while performing it. The artists who perform Theyyam act as mythical heros and the gods of Hindu mythology. Theyyam is believed to be the oldest art form of India. There are around 500 variants of Theyyam.
Theyyam is always perfomed by Men. For a few days before performing the Theyyam, the artist has to prepare his body and soul to entertain the Theyyam within himself. He has to devote himself to the god he worships and has to keep himself away from the worldly pleasures while being in this stage.
The songs used for Theyyam(known as Thottam Pattu
) are devotional
and full of energetic images. The language used in these songs is unsophisticated and very old.
Generally, Theyyam is performed in the temples of Goddess Kali