Pottan Theyyam: The Traditional Folk Art of North Kerala
Pottan Theyyam, an essential part of the cultural heritage of Kolathunadu, is a bright, lively and colourful ritualistic dance in the traditional art form of Theyyam. It is believed to be a manifestation of Shiva and is performed in Hindu tharavads. Pottan Theyyam symbolises resistance against social evils and represents goodness that can wipe out such evils in the community.
The dance acts out the lives of those who sacrificed themselves for a social cause and is interpreted as a social/spiritual satire distinctive of Theyyam’s personality. During the performance, Pottan Theyyam rests upon the embers of a large fire and is approached by locals who seek his response and blessing after the performance and customs.
In this article, we will cover various aspects of Pottan Theyyam, including its history, significance, meaning, and story. We will also explore the popular Pottan Theyyam thottam lyrics and showcase some captivating images of the Pottan Theyyam face.
Meanings of Pottan Theyyam
Pottan Theyyam has different interpretations and meanings, depending on the context and region in which it is performed. In some areas, it is believed to represent the marginalised and oppressed sections of society, while in others, it is associated with the harvest season and agricultural traditions. Some define it as a symbol of power and protection, while others view it as a representation of the common man.
Pottan Theyyam Story
The myth of ‘Pottan Theyyam’ traces back to Sree Sankaracharya. According to the legend, while preparing to climb the ‘Sarwanjha Peedam’, which is considered to be the throne of knowledge, Lord Shiva disguised himself as a Dalit, accompanied by Parvathy Devi in disguise as ‘Pulachamundi’, and his minister Nadikesan as ‘Pulamaruthan’, and came to test Sankaracharya’s knowledge and sincerity.
Lord Shiva took the form of ‘Pulapottan’ and engaged Sankaracharya in a series of arguments to expose the insignificance of the caste system that divides humanity into fragments. The major chants eulogised in ‘Thottam’ contain great social messages based on these arguments.
During their discussion, Lord Shiva, disguised as Pulaya Pottan, asked Sankaracharya, “If there is a cut on the body, the blood will come out and the blood of mine and yours will have the same colour. So, what is the difference between us?” Sankaracharya realised that it was Lord Shiva examining his knowledge and kindness towards humanity and offered the main message of living in unity as human beings.
Even during Pottan Theyyam performances today, the performer chants these teachings aloud to spread the message of humanity. There are a few other myths related to the emergence and performance of Pottan Theyyam as well.
Pottan Theyyam Video
Pottan Theyyam Thottam lyrics
The Pottan Theyyam performance begins with Thottam Pattu, a satirical song in old Malayalam that tells a story of a province consumed by caste and cult evils and ridicules social discrimination that exists in modern society. The performer chants that all beings are the blessed gift of God and that creating a caste system is unnecessary. Thottam Pattu is considered the first lyrical form in Malayalam to speak out against caste discrimination. Pottan Theyyam’s storytelling and performance are versatile and captivating, making it stand out from other forms of Theyyam. Despite being primarily performed in North Kerala, it is widely accepted throughout the state and the country. It is remarkable that some sections of society continue to uphold the state’s traditions and cultural heritage.
Famous Thottam Pattu Lyrics
Vazhi thetty vazhy thetty po pulapotta..
Enthina chovvare vazhi thettunnathu?
Ningale kothiyaalum chora onnalle…
Ningal pale perum mannathu koodumbol..
Naangal pale perum kaavil kuudunnu..
Nhangale kuppayile poovanu chovvare..
Ningale deevane poojikkunnathu chovvare…
Pottan Theyyam Images
In this article, we explored the meaning and significance of Pottan Theyyam in Kerala culture, its unique characteristics, origin, and evolution, as well as its impact on local communities. Hidden Mantra invites readers to visit our blog page to learn more about Theyyam and Indian cultural traditions.