Theyyam is one of the most outstanding folk arts of Kerala and has its origin in the northern parts of the state.Theyyam or Theyyattam is a popular Hindu ritual of worship in North Kerala state.
Thirra is a ritual dance of north Kerala, south India, performed in Bhagavati temples. Thirra is performed primarily in the adjoining areas of Kannur and Kasaragod districts. This art form is performed by the artists of Peruvannan (Vannan) community. It has some similarity with Theyyam. It will be done at the time of Utsavam (Annual temple festival). Clan deities such as Bhagavathi, Vishnu, Shiva are worshipped in these forms.
Theyyam is an artistic dance form where metaphysical thoughts and expressions of immortal souls are impersonated to a believer through a mortal body. Theyyam originated from "Kaliyattam" once practiced by the tribal community of north Kerala. Theyyam had grown to the present form through many transformations since it’s origin. Landlords and chieftains of those days are the main forces behind many of such transformations. The community and its body began to use this art to propagate the major theme of social enforcement. The artists are also encouraged by the authorities to introduce new themes into its traditional layers and classified different acts and expressions to match specific needs for their desire. The character representations were very broad. They range from mild to wild in representations. Theyyam is a sect in which old heroes are sanctified and worshipped as the guardians of villages and homes. Yet, it includes a complex universe centered on the belief that a man can—after suitable mental, physical and spiritual preliminaries—don the costume of a particular deity and then become that deity. In this elevated state he assumes superhuman and divine powers—speaking, moving, blessing and even healing as a god or goddess. What is crucial is that the person is not possessed by the spirit of the deity.