Photographer's Note

Theyyam rituals are embodied by performers in trance, possessed by the diety or ancestor he represents. Invocation preceeding a performance are meant to invite the entity to inhabit his body temporarily and to dissolve his conscience.

Once they are in trance, they shake, walk on fire, spin, jump and run around the temple for up to several hours, despite elaborate headdress and heavy costumes, to the vigorous rhythm of drums. This complex choregraphy is very spectacular, sometime spooky, and the ritual culminates with a blessing of each devotees. The Gods speak through the performers, responding to collective and individual concerns, such as dangers of epidimics, prosperous harvest or fertility problems.

Although very chaotic and theatrical, the performances are not improvised and are essentially religious events. Most of these sacred ceremonies take place in the middle of the night – I have been there 3 nights in a row at 3h00 in the morning, and it was quite strange to see dozens of young childrens around.

In workshop, you can have a look at the humongous headgear some of the characters are wearing.

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Additional Photos by Andre Roberge (InasiaJones) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1391 W: 152 N: 6235] (31566)
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