19th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel
Fire Theyyam

Theyyam is an ancient ritualistic dance performed in the North Malabar region of India. The flamboyant dance incorporates elements and rituals from the prehistoric ages, and finds its following in followers of different religions.There are more than 400 ways in which Theyyam is performed. The main dancer of Theyyam - Kutty practices a behaviour of piousness for weeks before the performance, abstaining from meat, alcohol and any ill-mannerism. The performance begins with the Kutty offering prayers to the deities in a minimal attire. A heavily adorned Kutty commences his trance dance where he spins at varying speed - from a furious pace to a slow intoxicated tumble on the beats of the instruments playing out aloud.The audience meanwhile offers gifts to the Kutty now Theyyam in his trance as he spins towards them. At times, Theyyam gets fierce and plays with fire - setting himself lit or jumping into it, and the priests have to safeguard him. The dance continues for hours and hours until the exhausted Theyyam passes out in front of the temple.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 12.2019
Date Uploaded: 10.2021
Photo Location: Kunnur, Kerala, India, India
Camera: NIKON D5
Copyright: © apurba Das