Theyyam performers  | Travel Photographer: Tewfic El-Sawy | PHOTOGRAPHERS |

"I've added a couple of galleries to my recently published One of the galleries groups photographs of The Sufis, while the other has a grouping of Theyyam performers.

Red is the color of fire and blood, and associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, courage, desire, and love. And it's used in many religious rituals and festivals in India, and worn by religious practitioners such as the Theyyam of Northern Malabar and theVellichapads (or Oracles) of Kodunggallur.

Theyyam is a living cult with several thousand-year-old traditions, rituals and customs, it includes many of the castes and classes of the Hindu religion in the Malabar region. The word Theyyam is a corrupt form of Devam or God. People of the region consider Theyyam itself as a god and seek blessings from them. 

As for the Oracles of Kodungallur, they celebrate both Kali and Shiva at an intense festival that lasts about a week.In their thousands, these red-clad devotees perform self mortification acts by banging on their heads with ceremonial swords repeatedly until blood trickle down their foreheads, and daub the wounds with turmeric. A photo essay titled Agony & Ecstasydocuments the Oracles religious event. 

And yes, I do like the color red." (Tewfic El-Sawy)