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Photo story: Theyyam Festival

Theyyam is an ancient dance festival that originated in the north Malabar region of Kerala, India, and is celebrated during the months of October to
Theyyam festival in Kerala
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Theyyam is an ancient dance festival that originated in the north Malabar region of Kerala, India, and is celebrated during the months of October to May. It is a unique form of ritualistic worship, where performers, known as Theyyam artists, wear elaborate costumes and colorful makeup to portray various deities such as Thaipara devatha, Kundor Chamundi, Rakthachamundi, Angakulangara Bhagavathy etc and mythological characters. The festival is a celebration of the region’s cultural heritage, spirituality, and mythology. The performances are accompanied by live music played on traditional instruments such as chenda, elathalam, and veekkuchenda.They perform different activities such as dancing, walking and jumping on fire, chanting mantra, sacrifice hens on fire etc.

The festival’s significance lies in the belief that the performers embody the deity they portray during the performance. People from all walks of life gather to witness this spectacle and seek blessings from the gods. Theyyam is not just a dance form, but a way of life, deeply rooted in the region’s history and culture. The festival is a celebration of faith, art, and tradition and a testament to the enduring spirit of the people of Kerala.

Happy is a professional freelance travel, people and documentary photographer and mentor and freelance photojournalist from India. She also appears as a judge for national photography competitions.

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