7 February 2007

THEYYAM 2007

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This is not a woman. a male enacting a female god

Had to cut short my trip to attend my dear and very close friend Jawahar's engagement colse to a neat town called Cuddalure, 200 Kms south of my city of Chennai., had to rush from west coast to east coast. On my way up, Chennai - Bangalore - Mysore and crossing the western ghats by bus to Cannanore. Bus was comfortable but how can I sleep when the bus is tossing me up every 2 minutes, through out the journey I was suspended in air. The road is in very bad condition from past 3 years. Why ? I don't know. Twice my head banged against the baggage loft of the bus, it tossed me up so high. I am thin but not that thin.


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Met my friend Unni, who made me feel at home. These rituals take place early in the morning. I missed the previous night's performances as the train was late by 6 hours.


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What the man splashing is supposed to be blood, thankfully it is coloured water. I was a bit upset watching some gory rituals early in the morning. I have not taken those pictures since children read this blog. I was told that there were lot more gruesome and gory rituals with animal sacrifices in the past, but they have all gone out of practice. Good to hear that. Hope what remains will be abandoned soon. Rest of the rituals and performances were all pleasant and very exciting to watch.


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They don't enact gods. They are not performing roles of different gods, THEY ARE GODS, and are treated as such, seriously. People go seek their blessings, some tell their problems to gods and gods tell them that good days will come. Seriously. It was really good to watch gods offering advise to those who seek, as gods and not as actors or performers. The godess here is a post man in his daily life. Believe me children are not afraid, they too seek blessings, there is absolutely no element of fear.


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I thought the drummers beat the drums as they please. They go according to a tight format with mathematical accuracy.


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This takes place in an old Tharavad family house. Here's my friend Unni showing me around. Its huge. You will get lost in the place, I am showing only one side of the place.

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I'll tell you about Tharvad family traditions later in a post. Here THEYYAM is conducted every year with contributions from all the members of the family, running into hundreds of thousands of rupees. and there is absolutely no monetory gain for the family. They do it with devotion and as service to the local people. All are invited. Food is free. The whole atmosphere is very pleasant and friendly.


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It takes hours and hours for them to prepare. Its a team work, each one having very specific task.


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The colours used are vegetable dyes, no chemicals. they patiently wait, here the man is making what comes as a head gear.

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People wait, there is continuous beating of drums as the night descends. and the gods appear.


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Gods appear one by one, There were friendly people telling me all the names of the gods and all the details which I was promptly forgetting. I'll ask Sindu and Unni for the information. the atmosphere was electric. serious crowd, very quiet, they couldn't defeat the sound of the drums any way. It was enough to keep every one awake right through the night.


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Then suddenly this happens.
I was half asleep when this god appeard. I got up to take a picture. He approached me. Probably thought that I have problems to place before him. He gave me flowers. I was looking at the flowers in my hands. Camera in the other hand. He smiled at me. Except for a lady and a child there was no one around as the crowd was with other gods. Suddenly the crowd abandoned other gods and gathered around me. I became nervous. They wanted to hear what this god is telling me or perhaps they thought i may place some unique problems before this god. i had none. I just kept quiet and kept smiling. All were looking at me. The god predicted my future.
All pleasant stuff, all in Malayalam, Yes I could follow what he was saying. My good days will come. He misfired only once as he talked about my Bhaari and Kuttiyol ( my wife and kids ) I have none. He was blessing them. Good. I took the blessing for my sister and my nephew and niece. I did not correct him nor did I tell him what I think of his blessings . Poor chap. I was patiently listening nodding my coconut in total appreciation. It was indeed very sweet of him to bless me and my family without asking. Then I took this picture and showed him the picture on the small screen. Ha, he smiled and touched my shoulder. I did not argue with him like I do with gurus and swamies, please believe me. there was mutual respect.


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This is the grand finale
Comes towards very early in the morning.
the head gear is 30 feet tall
the crowd waits for him
A demon god or slayer of demons, it was simply spectacular, and worth waiting for the whole night.
Here he comes. Can't get near him, he is surrounded by fire, lit torches tied all aound him.


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I am desperate to see his face and can't go near him, Crowd and fire all around him. My train was leaving in an hour's time and I was getting a free ride to the railway station 20 KMs away with Unni's uncle's family, very kind of them. If I miss the train I miss the engagement of my friend Jawahar. I am restless as the movements of the demon god are very slow. He has to walk with such a heavy costume, 30 feet high head gear with burning torches tied all around him.


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And finally I get to see his face, pretty scary but magnificiant. Wow ! I could feel the heat, I gently elbowed my way towards him. No way I could go anywhere near him with all the burning torches tied around him. Electric atmosphere. Absolute silence, no drums, then suddenly the drums came alive. My bags were already in the waiting car. I could barely take a few shots and it was time for me to leave.


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Unni was with me, his uncle's family was waiting for me. I was overwhelmed. I was still dazed with the unique experience. Just hoping to be there next year perhaps with the members of family, Sindu and Nirmal, half the pictures were taken with his camera, Ranjit and Seema, who are in the US.

Unni, mom and dad, sister Rema took so much care to make me feel at home. How sweet of them. thank you all so much, Unni's little niece Mathangi, very sweet and friendly, took away all my fatigue with her charm and innocence.

73 comments:

magiceye said...

excellent capture rauf!!!

wonderful to see you back here!!!

eagerly awaiting your new pictomentary!

ldbug said...

What god? Really beautiful picture!

Rauf said...

thanks MagicEye, i'll finish it tonight. By morning you'll have all the pictures and the post. hope you are doing fine MagicEye.

Rauf said...

god ldbug! please don't ask me that. i forgot all the names. I am such an idiot. There were people explaining everything to me and I was promptly forgetting all the details. don't know the names ldbug, just too many to remember. I'll get the details.

Claudia said...

Amazing colours! I'll bet that your long lasting memories of this whole experience will also retain these vivid colours.

PS - Rose is still around but I'm her granny :)

Ezee123 said...

Phew !!!!!!!

It is like a tonne of photographs out there.

Even with broadband it takes time,,,eternal time,,for the drama to unfold.

Lovingly done. Must have been a great show of pomp and pagentry. YOu know I was going for Theyyam this year but yikes had to cancel for some reason.

Fantastic stuff on your page.

mystic rose said...

WOWWEEEE!

amazing pics! and amazing festival. ive never seen this.

Rauf said...

Thank you Claudia, I posted only one picture first as my friends were asking and were worried about my health. I posted rest of the pictures in 5 instalments. It took the whole night. So Rose is Ana's daughter ? how sweet !

Rauf said...

Oh Sorry EZEE123, still there are quite a lot of them which i couldn't post. There are many Theyyams coming up this month around Taliserry. Recently watched a documentary on discovery channel on Theyyam. It was a big affair. lot of crowd, couldn't identify the place.

I took a bus from Mysore as i could not get train tickets, 25th to 29th being holidays. Please avoid Taliserry virajpet Coorg road, it will break your vehicle.
Its been in the same condition from past 3 years.

Rauf said...

Mystic Rose, now you tell me what you are doing in the middle of the night ? Hope you are feeling fine and singing your favourite songs.

"Angeldust" said...

Spectacular.

I will have to return to take it all in.
I have no idea why, but I always get moved when I first view your images - tears just spontaneously flow...
And I have to go and come back sometime later, hmmm

I been out of town most of the day yesterday... you did a lot of work!!!

Thank you dearest Rauf for taking the time to share such extraordinary experience.

Lots of love and hugs

Magnolia said...

nice pics....Gods look scary :0

...but good to find people have stopped slaughtering an innocent animal.

mystic rose said...

:p.

waiting for your post, ofcourse!
and yes, im singing the ones you sent me. :)

Rauf said...

Hi Angel, Hope one day you would watch it live. What you are missing here are the drum beats and the other tingling sounds. When these gods walk or perform they make very pleasant tingling sounds. wish I could record them. There were some shooting a video.
lots of love and hugs Angel.

Rauf said...

What waiting Mystique ? Posted it already, full thing, please hit F5 key or refresh icon on Internet explorer. I am talking like a big computer expert. kids are teaching me actually. and you happen to be my teacher too mystique and I proved to be a bad student.

Rauf said...

Magnolia, they look scary only in the pictures. kids are pretty comfortable with them. They watch the whole proceedings right from make up, costume.

Ruth said...

I loved the map of your trip! Very helpful, and funny too. Thank you.

This was very informative . . . and I still have so many questions. Don't know if you can answer.

How many villages/communities in Kerala have this kind of festival?

Do women ever dress up as gods/goddesses? Or would that be shameful? Reminds me of the Greek time, when men would play male and female characters.

I wonder what % of the pop. believes in this cult or just follows traditions? Probably like any culture's religion, it is a mix?

How long does Theyyam last?

I'm impressed by the Tharavad family, so generous. So many people would try to profit from a festival like this. Are they religious followers?

Thank you for all your efforts and sharing with us. The photos are magnificent, the travel was arduous, then the posting took so much time to sort and produce. Just brilliant!

"Angeldust" said...

Good day/night to you dear friend

In the semi-consciousness of awakening I had images of a very pregnant (?) female goddess being recreated (channeled) by a living male....
As you know, I am in the midst of the Feminist Theology course and last night we re read passages and interpreted them from the feminine perspective... you must only begin to guess what has gone through my mind since...
Of course, that always brings on some.

You are right, I would love to hear the sounds.... and yes, I would love to see it in person and let the drum beat invade all my senses...

Love and lots of hugs

Be back not done yet...

This Chilean filmmaker
visited my blog and I ended up leaving him your site - he is an "ethinicist", as yourself, recording life as happens in different areas.
See if you can pop over and view/hear his "Huinay" Cortometraje 2006 (self explanatory) listed under Archives

http://patricioschmidt.blogspot.com/

"Angeldust" said...

PPS - just like Ruth love the fact you enclosed a map!

Thank you

priya said...

Its colorful, vibrant and mesmerising. Beautiful rauf...
In the previous post, my coment went into anon and dono why.

isabella said...

Wow! I feel like I just took this trip with you (minus the bumpy road, thank goodness ;-).

Thanks for including the map, it gives me a better understanding of the area (love your grading of the road: bad, worse and bonebreaking! Reminds me of Eastern Europe...)

What pagentry! What attention to detail! What vibrant colours! Add to it the sounds and the smells - no wonder you felt overwhelmed at times.

Thanks for you hard work and dedication. We all appreciate this look at real India.

FOUR DINNERS said...

I've got to come and see this stuff one day. Now, where's me lottery ticket gone?.....

Magic

Rauf said...

Dear Ruth,
First of all this is not an Irish 'Riverdance' with breathtaking excellence and millisecond accuracy. Theyyam artitistically is nothing more than a costume. Its a concept. We experience gods. I will not be lying if I say 'I met god, god spoke to me and god said my good days are coming' People seriously believe this. I may be skeptical but i have learnt to respect their faith. There is a pooja or offering before they wear the costume. Serious ritual of entering
goodhood. The man is no longer a post man or an ordinary mortal, he becomes god. Ruth, I was watching one particular gentleman with great interest throughout the night, my eyes were following him.
He was completely out of place. There is no way I could place him in a pious or a religious atmosphere. I could place him easily in some science fiction movie. A man in his forties, very good looking, dignified, highly educated perhaps very rich. He was approaching every god and earnestly begging something. Don't know what was wrong with his life or wife. I thought only
superstitious villagers would believe that they are actually gods. There were many highly educated people, since I looked like an outsider with a camera in my hand, they were coming to me one by one and introducing themselves, except the man I am talking about. One of them was a retired high ranking army officer.
when I saw the sincerity behind the whole performance, Ihad to respect these people. When they sincerely believe that they are actually gods, I thought let it be. No questions. All these people were sincerely giving me the details Ruth, with an attention span of a flea i was forgetting every thing.

Theyyam is performed only in Malabar District of Kerala. I will not be surprised if people of south Kerala have never heard of it. There is something unique about Keralites. A man from Kerala would have greeted Neil Amstrong on the moon. He would have gone to north pole or south pole to make a living. but the same man would never have visited his next village. A man from Calicut would never have visited Trivandrum in his life.

Ruth, I have never heard of women participation. Men play both male and female gods, both in Theyyam and Kathakali. Kathakali is completely different. They are all actors, similar painted faces and costumes. They are not gods. Its a street and temple art. MOHINI ATTAM is a classical dance form of Kerala, performed mostly by women.
you would love it Ruth, it is very very fluid and graceful some thing like Thai dancing. Very feminine. Its so pleasing to watch Ruth.
Bharathanatyam is not graceful at all, rigid movements and it is highly erotic it is meant to be. Now all my bharathnatyam performing friends would jump on me. North Indian Kathak is very graceful.

Kerala is special. there is religious harmony all over the state. People respect each other's faith. I am not sure what percentage. Hindu Muslims and christians are equally devided. the state may have various other problems but religious harmony in the state is a model for other states to follow.

Within Hindus Ido not know how many follow this tradition. I have watched a discovery documentary recently, i can say roughly half of them believe in it. I have to remind you Ruth, Kerala is known for socialism and athiesm.So you can guess the percentage.

I have been to two theyyams, in both cases they lasted for 2 nights.

I am gathering information on Tharvad families. Women are the head of the families. they follow matrilinear inheritance. Children take mother's surname not fathers. Very interesting Ruth. I'll have a post on it when i have enough information.

Rauf said...

Dear Angel, I don't confuse myself nor I want to confuse you. Like Greek and Roman gods, each god has different names. You just don't know what kind of idiot I am Angel.
Perhaps the best kind. You would spend the whole day explaining epic Ramayan to me. In the end I may ask you who Rama was ? You would throw a bucket of ice cold water on me.

The Pregnant woman god you mentioned is Chamundi. I am not sure. she has different names. I do not know if she is any different from the destroyer or goddess of evil Kali or Durga. their rituals are pretty gory, they accept only blood. those rituals are fast going out of fashion.

dear Angel, I would like to draw your attention to Lorenna McKennit's songs. She is a canadian. just beautiful. I am not connecting anything. Please look into pagan rituals. You may find some answers. This may take you to Irish history. Witchcraft and pagan rituals, nature worship.
Female superiority. It makes lot of sense. I was very seriously reading pagan material some 20 years ago, all forgotten now. please look in to it, and refresh my memory as well. unfortunately later in ireland and england harmless witchcraft and paganism was out lawed and they were all burnt to death. When you say a 'witch' we think of a evil woman.
completely wrong. They were more close to nature and God than the pope ever was. I would like to kick shakespeare here. Writers made witches unpopular. though there was no media, church is largely responsible for the bad image of witches and pagans.

Rauf said...

By the way dear Angel, I love shakespeare, but I consider Christopher Marlow, thousand times brilliant than Shakespeare. Hope you have read Dr. Faustus. no female gods there. unfortunately Marlow was killed by then English establishment and the Church of England in a plot.

Rauf said...

Thank You Priya. i have been trying to switch to google, but many times it refused saying my blog is too large for such conversion. The other option was to abandon this blog and go for a new blog which I wanted to avoid. I kept trying. One day it accepted but most of the comments went anonymous.

Rauf said...

Isabella, I landed there in pieces. completely rattled,
all my nuts and bolts out of place. the road was so bad, you can't call that a road. Even mules cannot walk on that road. Bad road is simply bad administration.

What impressed me most was the seriousness of the people Isabella. their faith and devotion.
i maybe skeptical of all the rituals and drama. but the people were very serious about it. I chose to keep my mouth shut and just take pictures. Thankfully there were no sponsors and logos on these gods. Gods wearing addidas
or pepsi logo. It is difficult to arrange such an event. Money is hard to come by. But the family chose to seek private contribution
to conduct this festival.

Real India is different every hundred miles. The cities are not India Isabella, this festival was conducted in a rural place called Kudali. surrounded by sugarcane fields coconut groves. i have pictures of those too, but found no place to post them. the place is very quiet and serene (when the drum beats stop)

Rauf said...

Sure FOUR DINNERS, with Jax and Caz. you'd love it if you can bear the heat. You don't need a lottery FOUR DINNERS. Tickets have gone cheap these days and once you land here, you can be a Maharaja and live in a palacial room for ten quids a day for three of you. A comfortable train journey of 1000 kilometers is less than 10 dollars.
Most welcome FOUR DINNERS

"Angeldust" said...

I am going to copy and paste this reply of your on (my brand new) post of today...

Confused? I live "somewhat" confused. We both take in a lot of info.

What I noticed is that I "forget" also a loooooooooooot of things - but amitain the escential feeling about those things - as if no point of reference.

Then, there are some things I NEVER forget!

Lots of Love (far from idiot you are) and big hug

vinay said...

hey!!!you went to my native place i guess!!palakkad for collecting these pictures!!!amazing!!!been long i saw one theyyam!!!!!:-(( good old days are all long gone!!

MYSTI said...

What a wonderful and Amazing experience you had! Thank you for taking the time to bring the experience to all of us. Your pictures captured the energy and excitement of the ceremony.

e2d said...

Hi Rauf. Hope you are doing great.
This post is such a treat Rauf! Someday I hope to see all this in person.
I happened to read yr reply to Ruth and you are right about people from Kerala.U will find them in the north pole trying to make a living but they would never have visited their neighbouring village.Ignorant of their own land.I am guilty too. Never seen theyam in my life and my dad's from north malabar.

Absolutely loved the map you posted and the route you travelled.:)

Irene said...

Thank you for letting us vicariously experience such a fascinating festival through your talented eye. Your images are beautifully composed and simply enthralling to behold.

Will look forward to more, Rauf! =)

magiceye said...

spectacular! ......

thank you so much for sharing!

her indoors said...

Rauf thank you for sharing it looks absolutely amazing, all the time and effort that goes into it is unbeleivable, and yes i am thankful that they no longer slaughter animals.
thank you Rauf

"Angeldust" said...

Magnificent journey dearest Rauf

I finally managed to give it the time it deserves, although I darted over a few times since my last visit.
It must have been pure magic – whether one is or not “into gods”.
What I took away from it was the duality in all of us, how comfortable men were portraying a female goddess… feeling like one and dispensing advise…
This practice must bring on a great sense of community, particularly a whole night around a bonfire, those also are very bonding!
Everybody must have been in a sort of light trance with the beating of the drums… very soothing, very primal – after all.
I also noticed the extensive use of circles and (quarter) moons, as well as the sun in one in particular – all archetypal symbols – obviously universal since the dawn of time.

What I still cannot explain is why I become so emotional, particularly at the close ups.
I Was thinking that perhaps somewhere deep in my genes lies a connection. You know that I am 100%, well almost (90%?) Hungarian? Parents on both sides , but born in South America. Hungarians are not “European” and the roots of the language have been traced to Urdu… yeap!
I might be grasping at straws, but all theories are valid – lol

Thank you dear Rauf (and Unni and his kind family) for sharing, giving hearts.
Lots of love and a huge hug :)

rachel said...

I enjoy the way you lead us through the story as if it is happening to us. You create the anticipation you experienced. What an exciting way to end the Theyyam!

Jac said...

Fantastic, picturestudded travelogue, Kudos !

A humble correction here Rouf!
It is not "Bhaarri and kuttiyol" but it is "Bhaarya and kuttiyol" LOL

Thanks for sharing.

Rauf said...

Sorry I disappeared without telling you, had to rush to take the early morning train, had to go as I had cut short my last trip to attend my friend's engagement.

Some funny and scary experiences this time. Got stranded at a place called Maddur. Couldn't go further couldn't go back. All the roads train tracks were blocked by agitated farmers. This is the case of states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka fighting over river waters. I'll write the details soon. I apologise for disappearing without informing you all, came back this morning. I'll respond to all the comments and your mail today, except for a close shave (no I haven't shaved my beard) I am fit and fine.

Rauf said...

Dearest Angeldust,
Just disappeared, came back this morning with every bone aching.

There have been many simple rituals
like nature worship, which did not fall in to the organised religious practices and were termed as evil.

Rauf said...

Hi Vinay, Sorry for the delay in responding, wanted to go to Villages of Karnataka, but the roads were blocked and there was a total strike on the 12th.so ran away to Kerala, some amazing discoveries which I'll post later.

Have to cross Palakkat on my way to silent valley. Palakkat- Mannarkat- Mukhali- Silent valley

Old traditional houses of Palakkat is pending, I'll post them too,
I get confused in Palakkat as there are five bus stands.

Theyyams are still going strong in North Malabar dist. This is the season, you can catch some if you go to Talisserry this month.

Rauf said...

Hi Mysti, yes its an exciting experience, specially towards the end. it is a concept. What I appreciated most was the participation of the people. Artistic excellence is not required here. Its the atmosphere which they create is simply wonderful to watch even if one does not believe in what he is seeing.

Rauf said...

Hi Irene, You always bring a smile, still can't forget the names of the establishments. Hillarious they were. The country side of Philipines must be having similar rituals, though the urban areas have gone highly westernised, same here in India. It is a fight to keep these traditions alive Irene, they make sense or not is not important.
Thank you so much Irene.

Rauf said...

Thank you MagicEye, You can take Konkan Railway and come down to Taliserry or Cananore. But it is not good during Feb. June to December it is lush green every where

Rauf said...

e2dees, Hiyaa !

I love Shornur railway station, i find some excuse to board a train from there and there is a very sweet and helpful girl at the ticket counter, who always gives me some very good options. Oh yes, we'll go there next year, north Malabar, You have to see the road from vitajpet Coorg to Talisserry, though in bad condition but it is beautiful if you are willing to break a bone or two, you'd love it.
Actually it is the Karnataka side which is awful. Kerala side is pretty good. Many Theyyams this month.

I always say I know Kerala very well, had to run away from Karnataka to escape the bandh, thankfully there was no bandh in Kerala. I found how little I know about Kerala, This time saw some new places in wynad, ambalavayil, panamaram, vaduvanchal, meenmutty, Kuruva Island on kabini river, never knew kabini runs into kerala, Edakkal caves . We'll go there e2dees. We'll have kattan kaapi in small chaaya kadais, randu chaaya oru without.

Rauf said...

Dearest Angel,
First I was a bit disappointed when I noticed the lack of artistic excellence in the performance. Later I realised that artistic excellence was not in their list of priorities. It was not required. It is a concept. It makes sense or not is a different matter altogether. People's participation was amazing, they sincerely and seriously believed that they are actually in touch with the gods and in the duality as you have mentioned.

If you come to India Angel, you perhaps would land in Bombay which would be a shocking experience for you. Highly westernised, Bangalore in particular. It is a fight to keep these rituals and traditions alive. Good thing that some gory rituals are on their way out.

Please allow me to deviate from this subject and here I would like to draw Ruth's attention too, as she and Don recently visited Ireland.

Culturally India did not suffer much under the British rule. You would be surprised that the British allowed even human sacrifices, they turned a blind eye to such rituals. Later they were abolished. When the British were building massive bridges over River Ganges and other rivers, the labour force demanded human sacrifices which were allowed by the British engineers. shocking.

The case of British rule in Ireland was completely different and gruesome. All the ancient rituals were brutally abolished because they don't come under organised religious practices. Local Gaelic language was buried alive and by easter rising there was hardly any one speaking in gaelic. The whole Irish culture was raped. That did not happen in India where language changes every hundred miles. Those who practiced ancient witchcraft and pagan rituals which were pretty harmless and were nothing more than nature worship, which was treated as evil and they were burnt alive. Witchcraft could have gone a bit gory in some cases but not all. As far as I can remember there was no trace of blood rituals in witchcraft, no sacrifices. they were weird but not gruesome.

I may feel that Theyyam makes no sense. But there are people who beleive that they are in contact with gods.

Same thing happened with native Americans when 'civilised' people imposed their values on the natives. Today they are confused, lost their identity. Now i read somewhere that the natives are reviving their old traditions.

lots of love and hugs Angel

Rauf said...

Yes HER INDOORS, many are objecting to what's left of the gory rituals, they will slowly go out of practice. Animal blood was used in the past, now just coloured water is splashed on the diety.

Rauf said...

Rachel, I was tired and sleepy, but the electric atmosphere and the deafening drumbeats kept me awake through the night, and I was not disappointed at the end of it all. Here I keep my personal views aside to give you a picture of what was happening.
Thank you so much Rachel, hope you are doing fine.

Rauf said...

hi Jac, you need not be humble in correcting me, I welcome corrections and opposing views. The language is at the back of my head, it takes a few days for me to speak though not fluently.

thank you so much Jac

Sangita said...

At Last cld check ur blog today when my net is up..what a collection of pics Wow I loved the fact that they use natural dyes rather than paints.. was reassuring considering these ppl have to paint their faces for such long durations
Do post a blog on why this is celebrated and how is it asssociated with this branch of family..Am quite curious

Rauf said...

Sangita, This is a Tharvaad family house. they have a unique tradition. Women are the head of the family, they follow matrilineal system of inheritance, the property goes from the mother to the daughters. In Malayalam this is called Marumakkathayam. Children get mother's surname or initials not father's, I'll get more information and have a blog on this subject. there are some muslim Tharvaad families too. I have to do some extensive research on this unique system.

Many tharvaad families conduct Theyyam festival, though not in a big scale. Entire village is fed for 2 days. They have their own small temple in the compound.
This is restricted only to North Malabar district of Kerala. All members of the family pool in the money every year, runs into lakhs. Family contributions are coming down now. Theyyam is conducted in temples too. in big scale. My last year's Theyyam pictures were taken in a temple near Taliserry.

"Angeldust" said...

Thought you might like this quote dear Rauf

Nature Quote of the Day:
"Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere."
C. S. Lewis

Have a great day - BiiiiG HUG

objectif-plume said...

tes photos sont d'une rare et merveilleuse intensité

e2d said...

Sooooper Rauf! Lets travel. I dont mind breaking a bone or two :)
Make that - Randu kattan kaapi,our without & randu parippuvada.
Pappadavada is fine two.

Rauf said...

Sweet Angel, My mind goes wild, I always imagine migrating to a different planet with all the peace loving and non violent people
of this world, leaving the planet for the greedy. I wonder how I would take all the species, insects animals and birds with us.
Not in a boat in Noah style but in a space craft with the help of the aliens.
Love and Hugs dear Angel

Rauf said...

Thank you Nadine and Ricardo, its been a while, How are you ? Been traveling a lot, couldn't visit your site, I'll do it today positively, hope you are doing fine.

Rauf said...

Adu seri e2dees, went wynad with my friend Asokan, he takes without.
We stayed at Manandavady at a good place 200 rupa a day for 2 people.
Yavary day i was having puttu and kadala kari, Asokan had aapam on the last day. Tirnalli temple is my next post. Love parpu vadas. We go, when you coming ?

"Angeldust" said...

:)

Steven Novak said...

Wow.

Amazing pics.

Steve~

Rauf said...

Hi Angel

Rauf said...

Thank you Steven, Any relation to Kim Novak ?

"Angeldust" said...

Another one dearest Rauf

"Brought up to respect the conventions, love had to end in marriage. I'm afraid it did." -
Bette Davis

Love and huuuuugs

lesleyanne said...

such an amazing culture you are a part of, every single day. such saturated colors on the costumes! so much detail, nothing is missed.

Rauf said...

Thats a good one dearest Angel,
Bette Davis was a little before my time, I don't remember having seen any of her movies, lovely eyes she had.
Lots of love and hugs

Rauf said...

Lesleyanne, Amazing exciting you can use these words, these things happen in the streets. there are different kinds of street arts with absolutely no takers. They resort to begging. Movies brought an hunger and starvation to the street performers. their children took up different jobs.

Only the rich could watch live music and dance performance. Then came the records and every one could afford to buy records and enjoy the music.
Its difficult to keep the theatre alive. no one has time. We all prefer entertainment at home. There are pros and cons of every thing Lesleyanne. You can keep some performing art alive in India only if it has something to do with religion like this Theyyam.

mala & chinna said...

I suppose the guys who are the Gods give up the chance to ask for advice.
How does the God with metal over his eyes see?

Anonymous said...

Simply surperb

Anonymous said...

Hi
Great pics!!
Been there twice. Koodali near Kannur.It's a two day event. Over 20(may be more) theyyams appear during the fair.Theyyams appear throughout the night (and day?). The final theyyam is the one with the torches all around. One theyyam in the previous night will sit on smouldering charcoal - with all thick smoke bellowing all around him. The dress made of tender coconut leaves wrapped all around protects him from getting
burnt. Had a friend there who was involved in the rituals connected with the two small temples adjescent to this compound.They give out toddy as 'prasadam'...
There is a legend connected with this fair....
Wonderful event....missed this time...

yoneb

Rauf said...

Mala Chinna, I saw the guy walking freely without any help, moving fast in the dark. must be mirror coated glass, semi transparant.

Rauf said...

Anonynous, thank you

Rauf said...

Hi Yoneb,
never knew you belong to that place. Yes there are actually 39 Theyyams, I missed the first night as my train was late. These are the pictures of 2nd early morning and night. I missed the one on fire
but the last one with torches all around was spectacular. would you kindly tell us about the legend. It will be very interesting.
thank you Yoneb

Rajendran said...

Hi Rauf. Thanks for the wonderful pics. My name is Rajendran and I am a member of the Koodali Thazhathuveedu Tharavad. Its great to know you have visited my place and taken such great pics of the Theyyam festival. I am in Bahrain and would be nice if we could keep in touch often thru yahoo. Would be nice to know from u thru mail at rajnambiarkt@yahoo.com

Rauf said...

Hi Mr.Rajendran, Its nice to know you are the member of the Thazahathuveedu Family. Unfortunately due to derailment my train was late by 6 hours, so i missed the first night. These are the pictures of the second morning and second night. Were you present during the festival this time ? I intend to go next year also, Hope to meet you then. Thank you for visiting my page Mr Rajendran. Welcome to 'daylight