Theyyam, The Dancing Gods



How to Cite

Pereira, F. (2018). Theyyam, The Dancing Gods. Journal of Anthropological Films, 2(1), e1369.


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.

Copyright (c) 2018 Filipe Pereira

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