Theyyam, The Dancing Gods

Filipe Pereira


The cult of the Theyyams is exclusive to the north of Kerala, southwest India, and consists of a deity assuming a living form through a ritual performance. The main characteristic of this cult is that the performer is supposed to be transformed into the divinity, it is not merely a representation but a living god or goddess that is present to the believers, and everybody behaves according to that assumption.

The main type of ceremony with the participation of Theyyams is the kaliyattam, a “danced story”, which happens during a festival organized annually in a village or family temple. The performers belong to the lower castes or tribes of the traditional social stratification system.

The documentary follows Rajesh Peruvannan, a Theyyam performer, in the process of transformation into the condition of a living god. 


Teyyam; Ritual; Performance; India

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Copyright (c) 2018 Filipe Pereira

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ISSN: 2535-437X 

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