Have you ever seen Gods in real life? Ever touched them? The answer might be Yes or No. a A gorgeous and colorful traditional festival from India gives us a chance to witness some. This vibrant celebration happens in Kerala, which is marked on the tourist map as God’s own country because of its beauty and year round great weather.
Let’s go and find out more details about the Theyyam festival. We are going to a small village in the northern part of Kerala, where the Gods are getting ready for their war!
The whole war and its story is based on a small part of the Indian epic, Ramayana, the story of King Rama and his adventures. In this section of the story, Vali and Sugriva, who are brothers, are fighting with each other due to a misunderstanding between them. This leads to a war, caused by the struggle for ‘the right to power.’ They were both equally powerful and skilled. So they fight ferociously without giving up.
This story is recreated by the human gods. This is called Theyyam festival or Thira festival. Theyyam is basically a ritual in which the performer assumes the roles of characters from epics. Basically, it’s an art form that worships the Gods.
So in our story of the war, one human assumes the role of Vali and the other role of Sugriva. The difference in their face-painting and facial features helps to differentiate them. The intricate details of the designs on their faces and body are created by using natural colors.
Once they wear the face-painting, head-dress, other ornaments and costumes, they transform themselves into Gods. They are no longer just humans; they develop a mysterious power – one that is required in order to do the Godly dance for hours, especially while wearing the heavy head wear.
Let’s come back to the war now. First it is Vali’s turn to appear in the battle field:
He is dancing – challenging and waiting for his opponent: his own brother Sugriva.
Vali comes and does the godly dance. His steps and moves show his fury and impatience.
Then, hanumanji appears (another important person in this whole story):
He receives his lethal weapon from hanuman: the sword and shield:
And he walks around the battle field furiously:
…impatiently waiting for his opponent, his own brother:
Will Sugriva appear? What will happen in the war? In next post…