Theyyam is a well preserved ancient art form of Kerala, popular in its northern part called Malabar. It is an art form dominated by elaborate costumes and head gears, by which the particular characters are identified.
In theyyam, facial make-up is also character-specific and is markedly different for male and female characters. Only natural ingredients are used for make-up and the various colours are obtained by the application of sandalwood, red sandalwood, turmeric, rice paste, lime, and camphor in various combinations.
Theyyam season in Kerala is generally from December to April. The word Theyyam is believed to be a corruption of the word Daivam, meaning God, and there are more than 400 Theyyam characters.
Some of the places in North Malabar, which host grand Theyyam performances are Kurumathoor, Cherukunnu, Kunnathoorpadi, Karivalloor, Nileswaram, Ezhom etc. There is a daily theyyam performance at the Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple of Kannur.