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Calicut Temple festivals-Theyyams and Thiras

 

Thira performance at a local temple near Harivihar,Calicut

Theyyams and Thiras are ritual dance performances performed in a kaavu(grove) or temple premises of Malabar area of North Kerala.While in theyyam ,the performer is deemed as God himself,in thira the performer is deemed as being possessed by God. This more than 800 year old ritualistic festival is held usually between the months of December to March in scores of small family owned temples in Calicut,Kannur and Kasergode(North Kerala)There are over 400 different types of theyyam and thira dances. The most popular ones include Bhagavathy thira, Bhairavan thira, chanthu thira,Gulikan thira,Kuttichathan thira, Chamundi thira,Nagakali thira Kandakarnan thira etc. Performers of theyyam and thira ,usually belonging to the supposedly lower castes like Malaya,Vanan,Panan,Pulayan  and Mvilan communities dress as deities for the dance  .The setting is usually temples or as ancestor worship in old houses(tharavads).Theyyam and thira dances are performed in  front of a shrine and there is no curtain or stage .The spectactors ,usually worshippers ,stand close by .Mythological stories are enacted during the performances which could last anywhere from one to twelve hours.Some thiras are preceded by vellattams where the performer wears light make up and dances to the tune of drums and folk songs ,emulating the main diety of the shrine.

Thira performance at a local temple near Harivihar,Calicut

Here we present a list of temples near to Harivihar homestead, where thiras and theyyams are performed annually. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list  and there are scores of other temples who have not found a place in our list.The performances are done usually once an year and the dates are based on the Malayalam calendar year and hence liable to change each year.

Thira performance at a local temple near Harivihar,Calicut

 

A theyyam performer donning makeup.Scene from a local temple near Harivihar

1.Karaparambu kuttiadu Sree Vettakkoru makan  temple-dedicated to lord Shiva, the temple thira is in the month of Kumbham 28-29th(March 12-13th,2018).This temple has a tradition of more than 500 years old of thira performances.

2.Andikode paradevatha temple-presided by the goddess Durga, thiraa in this ancient temple is in the month of Makaram 20-21st(February 2,3rd,2018).

3.Chelannur ambalathaukulangara temple-thira performance in the month of Kumbham 3rd(February second week).

4.Mokavoor Kamburam temple- dedicated to the Goddess , thira performance is in the month of Kumbham(February).

5.Karaparambu Nellikavu  temple-Kalamezhuthu pattutsavamin the month of January 1st week.

6.Eranjipalam Nagathan parambu – kavadi attam performances

7.East hill Arrecanadath temple- Nagakali thira.

8.Kallai Bhadra kali temple – Bhadra kali thira

9.Link road  Kiliparambu temple – Nagathira

10.East hill Mannil temple – thira

Apart from thiras and theyyams  ,there are other temple festivals which are spectacular in scale being held in Calicut each year.The following are noteworthy.

1.Thiruvannur Subramanian temple –Soorasamharam festival on   25th of October 2017

2.Thali  temple Revathi pattathanam and temple festival on 2nd of November, 2017

3. Mananchira Ayyappan Vilakku – Mandala kaalam

4. Pisharikavu Kaliyattu.

5 .Kadalundi Jathavan purappadu.

6. Kadungochira Mahaganapathy temple festival.

7. Krishna Jayanthy procession-During Krishna Jayanthy day(September 12th ,2017) ,thousands of children dressed up as Krishna become part of processions ,organized  through out the length and breadth of Kerala.

 

 

 

 

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