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Theyyam originated from "Kaliyattam" once practiced by the tribal community of north Kerala. Theyyam had grown to the present form through many transformations since its origin.The Theyyam festival usually held in from October to May every year.Theyyams are performed it in connection with the local shrine (Kavu).Theyyam also called Kaliyattom presents divine forms as well as heroes from history and myth.Theyyams are performed by the male members except Devakkooththeyyam in Thekkumbad which is the only theyyam deity performed by a woman.
The performers of Theyyam belong to the lower class community (malayanmar), and have an important position in Theyyam.Bhagawathi, the Mother Goddesses has an important place in Theyyam.There is no stage or curtain or other such arrangements for the performance. The devotees would be standing or some of them would be sitting on a sacred tree in front of the shrine. According to its significance the performance continues for 12 to 24 hours with intervals.The first part of the performance is usually known as Vellattam or Thottam. It is performed without proper make-up or any decorative costume. At that time only a small, red headdress is worn. After a short interval he appears with proper make-up and costumes.All the dancers take a shield and kadthala (sword) in their hands as continuation of the cult of weapons. Then the dancer goes round to the shrine, runs in the courtyard and continues dancing there.A performance is a combination of playing of musical instruments, vocal recitations and dance.

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