Theyyam of Malabar is one of the most popular ritualistic dances of Kerala. This is a devotional performing ,in symbols and presentations. One can see the Divine Power through the person performing the Theyyam. All the dancing Theyyams are gods of different origin. We can see and pray gods and dead respectable persons in Theyyam. Theyyam is a kind of symbolic worship. Gods, godesses, demi-gods, epic characters, demons ,spirits, lower animals like snakes ,great ancestors and heroic men are worshiped through Theyyams.
Formerly, when there was outbreak of smallpox, deities like "Puthiya Bhagavathy", "Kantakarnan", “Vasoori Mala” and “Dandadevan” were performed. For getting children "Makka Bhagavathy" and Naga Bhagavathy” were performed. For smooth and safe delivery “Uchitta” was performed. Deities like “Puthiya Bhagavathy”, “Kathuvannur Veeran” were performed for the fulfillment of desires and safety from dangers. Some are performed for good harvest. Theyyams are performed at temples and big Tharavads . Kavu, Palliyara, Kottam and Mundya are places of Theyyam Deities. Theyyam derives from “Daivam” which means GodThe songs of Theyyam are called “Thottam Pattu”
Depending on facial decoration, the crown and the dress there are different varieties of Theyyakolams. Vattamudi, Neelamudi, Pookkattimudi, Peelimudi, Chettamudi,Purathattu,Omkaramudi,Olamudi and Palamudi are different varieties depending on the Crown. Velumban, Kani and Vithanathana are some of the dresses..Some Theyyams use only tender leaves of coconuts (Kuruthola).Theppu and ezhuthu are the two types of facial decoration. Body too is decorated. There are different names for the body paintings. Manayola, chayilium ,turmeric red and rice powder are used for painting