The Theyyam in Kerala

One of Kerala’s most fascinating cultural expressions is the theyyam, a ritual dance that takes place in the temples of the state, usually during the tropical winter (please open to March). The dancer of theyyam enters into a trance and is possessed by the divinity he embodies (pictured, by the goddess Bhagavati); more in the style of African (ecstatic) spirituality than the classic yogi (estatic) tradition of India. But in Kerala, many religious and cultural idiosyncrasies cohabit.

There are over 450 different forms of Theyyam, depending on the god being depicted, and for each of them, the dress and makeup are different.

The Theyyam became very popular as it was open to all castes and religions.