Theyyam is the cultural dance form of northern kerala. Dancing form of God is known as Theyyam. The dancing of theyyam is known as Theyyattam.

Theyyam is derived from the word ‘daivam’ is told by Dr Hermen Gundert.The dancing of theyyan is known as theyyattam is told by Chelat Achutha Menon. Theyyam, The cultural art of northMalabar has an tradition of 100 and more years. Theyyam is performed at Kannur and Kasargod districts.Theyyam is the natural word form of ‘Daivam’.There is the right to perform different theyyams for different castes given by the God. With the beautiful face painting,red coloured ornaments made by new coconut leaves,flowers etc and instruments like chenda,chengila,ilattalam,karumkuzhal,thakil and with beautiful dancing steps ,the Theyyam is performed with god in their mind. For becoming a best Theyyam artist they need years of practice.They devot the god and make into their mind with a song known as Thottam Pattu.For some theyyams there will be vellattam performing the day before.

There will be particular place and time for all Theyyam.Behind Theyyam there is the culture of the old brahmanas of the India.There were more temples at payyannur and perinchellur, where Brahmanas were more.According to keralolpatthi Lord Parusurama had created Theyyam,Puravela,Deviyattam.He gave rights to different castes for performing different Theyyams.The castes were Vannan, Malayan ,velan,mavilan etc.These people made the shape and dresses of theyyam and made social changes such as temples were made under higher castes and made performing of Theyyam for lower caste people.

The time of theyyam starts from thulam 10 at Kolacheri Chattamballi Vishakandan and Nileshwaram Anhuttambalam Veerarkavu kaliyattam. It ends on edavappathi, kaliyattam at Valapattanam Kalarivathukkal Bhagavati Kshetram and Nileshwaram Mannanpurath Kavu Klasham. According to kolothiri raja’s order Karivellur Manakkadan Gurukkal performed 39 theyyam in one day.This is a belief of the people.Manakkadan Gurukkal gave shape and emotion(feelings)for theyyam.

. ‘Kaliyattam’ refers to to the performance of theyyam conducted at kavu,institution or tharavadu.In some tharavadu theyyam is performed on permanent dates of year.This is called ‘Kalpana Kaliyattam’. In some kavus and kazhakams theyyam is performed once in twelve or more years. The performance of theyyam in this way is called as ‘Perumkaliyattam’.Perumkaliyattam is also known as ‘Kaliyattangalude Kaliyattam’.It is conducted by full decorations and facilities. Generally the cultures and functions is more in peumkaliyattam than kaliyattam. At some perumkaliyattam there will be ‘Annadanam’(giving food)for people. Kaliyattam is the aatam(dance)of kaali.When the people use this words in simple way it came as Kaliyattam.

Kavus,kazhakams,kottam,ara,palliyara,sthaanam, mundya etc are the places where theyyam is performed. At first theyyams were usually performed near the trees, considering them as God.

Theyyams are usually performed by different communities(castes) such as vannan,Malayan,velan,mavilancoppalan etc.
 Vannan
. Other than performing theyyam they also do the job of weaving,and hereditary Ayurveda.Most of the theyyams are performed by vannan.bhadrakali,bhootham,veeran,bhagavati,nagam,yakshagandharavan,puli theyyams are the theyyams that are performed by vannan.

 Malayan
The Malayan found in kannur and kasargod perform theyyams.They go for other communitie’s theyyams for playing chenda.Bhairavan,Kuttichathan,Uchitta,Kurathi,Raktha Chaundi,Madayil Chamundi,Vishnumoorthi,Khandakarnan,Vasoorimaala,Karuval etc theyyams are performed by Malayan.

 Velan
Velas who lives in kannur and kasargod also performs theyyam. According to history velas where originated from kundora . Therefore they consider kundora chamundi as their god. Apart from this they also performs pulli kurathi,kunhar kurathi, dhuma bhagavathi , panchuruli, bhappirian ,Gulikan theyyam.

Theyyams are classified on the basis of Mugattezhuth,Meyyezhuth,chamay Ams.The paste of rice,turmeric powder, chunnambu is used for colours.Coconut oil is used for mixing clours.The thin stick of coconut leaf is used as brush.The person who draw mugattezhuth is known as ‘Ezhuthalar’.Thalappali and Chennimalar on face,Vala,Kadakam,Choodakam on hands and Chilambu,Manikkayal and Pattumbadakam on legs are compulsory.For some theyyam there will moustache and for some there will be pantham(fire on stick attached to the body). The things made from metals are not made by the people but other materials other than metals are made by themselves.

There are two types of face paintings Mugattezhuth and Mugattepu.The paste of rice,turmeric powder,chayilyam,manayola are used for mugattezhuth and mugattepu.The theyyams of koppala and vela community have only mugatteppu.Theyyams of vannans like Muttappan also have mugatteppu.Different types of mugattezhuth have different names .Theyyams like muchilot bhagavati,kannangat bhagavati have ‘Kuttisangum Prakkum’.Theyyams having large thirumudi have ‘prakkezhuth’.angakkulangara bhagavati have ‘vairidalam’.pullikkarinkali and puliyoor kali have ‘narikkurichiyezhuth’.bali have ‘hanumankannittezhuth’.Some theyyams have meyyezhuth.For kathivanoor veeran they use arichanthu(paste of white rice).For bali,pullikkarinkali,puliyoorkali they use manayola.For vettakkorumakan and oorpazhassi they use manayola,chayiliam,green,black,yellow colours.