Theyyam is an 800-year old celebration of divinity and devotion in the northern Malabar region of Kerala. It is a most visually impressive form of cultural enthusiasm among the people of different castes.
With its root steeped in the age-old Dravidian culture of South India, Theyyam is a mélange of dance, drama, music and mime. Though it has become a tribal festivity, the subject of performance is the glory of divine heroes and celestial spirits.
The ceremonious dance is accompanied by the chorus of such musical instruments as Chenda, Elathalam, Kurumkuzal and Veekkuchenda.
Among the Indian festivals in winter, Theyyam Festival of Kerala runs from December to April making it the best time to visit India for cultural tourists and art photographers.
The musical dance performance is ritualistically held at some 1200 temples from north Malabar to south Malabar. Each participant represents a heroic character with divine power. Performers wear heavy make-up, huge masks and flamboyant costumes for dramatic appearance and spectacular presence.
Location: Kerala, India
Photographer: Christophe Boisvieux