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Theyyam kettal: the preparatory make-up

Theyyam is a ritual art popular in the Malabar region of Kerala, India. The Malabar region comprises the northern districts of the state.

This is an awe inspiring art form with colourful and mysterious settings. The large headgear, ornamental decorations and colourful make-up make the Theyyam performance spectacular.

Theyyam kettal or preparatory make-ups for Theyyam is a long and painstaking affair. Make-ups for face and body are different. Eerkil, the mid-stem of the blade of coconut leaf is used to brush the colours.

Natural colours, sandalwood, camphor, turmeric, red sandalwood, lime, rice and rice flour are some of the raw materials used to prepare the make-up.

The facial make-ups for male and female characters are different.

Karivalloor, Nileswaram, Kurumathoor, Cherukunnu, Ezhom and Kunnathoorpadi in north Malabar are places famous for Theyyam performances.

Theyyam performances are held during the season December to April. At the Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple in Kannur, Theyyam is preformed on all days.