Theyyams in Kannur take a break

Photos: Varun Aduthila
  • Theyyam season has concluded in Kannur with the end of ‘Kalasam’ festival.
  • Thiruvarkkatt Bhagavathy’s Theyyam is considered the mother of all Theyyams.

The ‘Kalasam’ festival is over at Madayi Thiruvarkadu Temple, also known as Madayi Kavu, in Kannur district, marking the conclusion of Theyyam season. Madayi Kavu is considered the second most important Bhadrakali Temple in Kerala and follows the Saktheya tradition of worship. The Goddess at Madayi Temple is considered the presiding deity of the erstwhile Kolathunadu kingdom.

According to legend, it was at this spot that goddess Kali killed a demon named Darikan. The Theyyam representing Thiruvarkatt Bhagavathy is decorated and performs as Kali during the festival. This Theyyam is referred to as Thiruvarkkatt Bhagavathy, Thay Paradevatha, Chamakkavil Bhagavathy, Arathil Bhagavathy and other many other names names at different places. Their performances, too, have subtle differences. Thiruvarkkatt Bhagavathy’s Theyyam is considered the mother of all Theyyams.

In the local songs known as ‘Thottam Pattu’, there are references to the goddess, praising the divinity. The main festivals (pooram) at the temple are during the Malayalam month of Meenam, and the Perumkalasam and Kaliyattam during Edavam. The right to perform the Theyyam of Thiruvarkadu Bhagavathy rests with the person holding the title of Madayi Peruvannan.

Kalasam festival

The Kalasam festival at Madayi temple was held on June 8. At 4.30 am on that day, the Padmasaliya community made its offering. After half-an-hour, the procession arrived from Vayalipra Kottarathil family. The Thiruvarkatt Bhagavathy’s Theyyam followed. Along with it, other Theyyams like Kshetrapalakan, Manjalamma, Someswari, Kalarathri, Vettuvachekavan and Chuzhali Bhagavathy performed. The Theyyams emerged from the sacred grove behind the temple. They circle a shrine thrice before showering blessings on devotees.

The next ritual is detaching the paraphernalia, which marks the end of this year’s Theyyam season. Till the tenth day of the Malayalam month of Thulam, it is the time of rest for the Theyyam artistes. They also start making arrangements for the next Theyyam season now. Devotees and Theyyam fans are in for a wait.