BANG-BANG-BANGBANGBANG-BANG THE DRUMS ARE LOSING THE RHYTHM AND THE THEYYAM GOD IS JUMPING INTO THE FIRE IN THE STATE OF TRANS COMBINED WITH THE DEVOTION…
The Theyyam dancer’s dark black mystic eyes are emphasized by the deep bloody red color of his face. The light of the fire reflects on his bare chest decorated by the drawing of two snakes. A necklace of wrought silver shines on the neck, vibrate an universal energy and the rhythm of it is passed on to the bracelets on his arms and ankles. He is ready to jump into the fire and narrator is telling his Theyyam story...
THEYYAM RITUAL TEMPLE ART FORM
Theyyam or Theyyattam or Thira is a popular Hindu ritual form of worship of North Malabar in Kerala state, India, predominant in the Kolathunadu area (consisting of present-day Kasargod, Kannur Districts, Mananthavady Taluk of Wayanad and Vadakara & Koyilandy Taluks of Kozhikode of Kerala state. As a living cult with several thousand-year-old traditions, rituals and customs, it embraces almost all the castes and classes of the Hindu religion in this region. The performers of Theyyam belong to the indigenous tribal community, and have an important position in Theyyam. This is unique, since only in Kerala, do both the upper-caste Brahmins and lower-caste tribals share an important position in a major form of worship. The term Theyyam is a corrupt form of Devam or God. People of these districts consider Theyyam itself as a God and they seek blessings from this Theyyam. A similar custom is followed in the Tulu Nadu region of neighbouring Karnataka known as Bhuta Kola.
Meladath Chakki, a woman who was a landlord from Kunnaru, Ramanthali near Payyanur found a baby boy from the forests of Poonkumbam, Wayanadu. She named him Kelan and raised him as her own. As a young man, Kelan was interpid, vigorous, quick-witted, and was very devoted to his mother. With Kelan's hardwork the fields at Kunnaru flourished. Seeing this Chakki Amma decided to send him off to her fields at Poonkumbam. So Kelan started his journey for Wayanadu and before he left he drank toddy from his home and took some along with him for the road.
The light of the fire reflects on the Theyyam dancer's bare chest decorated by drawing of two snakes. A necklace of wrought silver shines on the neck, vibrate an universal energy and the rhythm of it is passed on to the bracelets on his arms and ankles. He is ready to jump into the fire...
After reaching Poonkumbam Meladath Chakki cleaned the place out by cutting down all the bushes from the four jungles surrounding his field. He only left behind a gooseberry tree in the fourth jungle. On that gooseberry tree two snakes lived named Kali and Karali. Intoxicated Kelan, set fire from all four sides of the jungle and jumped through the fire daringly. He got entertained in this process. After burning three jungles down, he set ablaze to the fourth jungle but this time the fire became wild and he couldn’t escape it's soaring flames. As his last resort he climbed onto the top of the gooseberry tree. Scared the two snakes climbed onto Kelan's chest and bit him. Kelan along with the snakes, fell into the fire and got burned to ashes.
Wayanattu Kulavan, another warrior god who was passing by the burnt forest, saw the image of Kelan in the ashes. With his hunting bow traced out Kelan and gave his life back. Wayanattu Kulavan blessed Kelan and renamed him as Kandanar Kelan.
With the Theyyam and the Legend Of The Kelam was connected an interesting ritual in olden days. Hundreds of hunters would go to the nearby forest and capture large numbers of animals. The hunted animals were cut into pieces in front of the Kandanar Kelan Theyyam. The ritual is not practised anymore.
He believes, that all the gods, all the heavens, all the hells, are within him. But he asks: "Burn me a cigarette, buy me a beer till l'm happy to be here!"
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