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theyyam
December 23, 2004 1:14 AM   Subscribe

Theyyam, a corrupt form of daivum (god), is a popular ritual dance of North Kerala, India. As a living cult with centuries old traditions, ritual and custom, it embraces almost all castes and classes of the Hindu religion in this region. A performance (mpg) of a particular deity continues for 12 to 24 hours with intervals. The costumes differ based on the character (mpg) of the theyyam.
posted by dhruva (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Wonderful post. Thank you, dhruva.
posted by Token Meme at 1:29 AM on December 23, 2004


This is absolutely gorgeous, a post rising above the din as an exemplary presentation of culture and religion. I second the motion:

Thank you, dhruva!
posted by moonbird at 3:30 AM on December 23, 2004


If I were a deity this would appease my wrath. Great post!
posted by LeeJay at 7:26 AM on December 23, 2004


Fantastic, dhruva.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:06 AM on December 23, 2004


excellent post!
posted by kamylyon at 9:18 AM on December 23, 2004


Great post indeed. Minor cavil: theyyam (pronounced TAY-yum -- there is no "th" sound in the Indian languages) is not "a corrupt form of daivum (god)" but the Malayalam form of that Sanskrit word (Malayalam is the Dravidian language spoken in Kerala); linguistic change is not "corruption."
posted by languagehat at 9:32 AM on December 23, 2004


Very interesting and visually amazing. Thanks!
posted by lobakgo at 11:43 AM on December 23, 2004


What's the connection, if any, between theyyam and kathakali? The costumes seem similar, at least, and they're both from Kerala...
posted by mr_roboto at 12:12 PM on December 23, 2004


languagehat: there is no "th" sound in the Indian languages

How would you pronounce katha (tale) then?

I've always pronounced it ka - thaa, although the 'h' isn't that prominent, but it's there. My mother tongue is Gujarati, and I grew up in Bombay. Maybe you mean 'th' as in how native English speakers pronounce it.
posted by Gyan at 12:46 PM on December 23, 2004


cool--thanks!
posted by amberglow at 1:53 PM on December 23, 2004


Maybe you mean 'th' as in how native English speakers pronounce it.

Yes, exactly -- the sound sometimes written þ. Indic languages have a contrast between aspirated and unaspirated (eg, th vs t) that is very hard for English speakers to pick up on, since in English the two are allophones of one phoneme (ie, they occur in strictly defined environments: unaspirated after a spirant, eg t in star, and aspirated otherwise, eg tar -- in an Indic language those syllables would be transliterated star and thar) and sound "the same" to native speakers (the way b and v do to Spanish speakers, who use the first at the beginning of a word and the second elsewhere). Sorry to get so technical, but you asked!
posted by languagehat at 2:39 PM on December 23, 2004


I 've heard theyyam pronounced with 'th' as in thin.
posted by dhruva at 5:13 PM on December 23, 2004


By Indians? OK, I defer to your experience -- I'm just going by what I've read.
posted by languagehat at 5:28 PM on December 23, 2004


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