Does Faith Dismiss Performance? Observations on the Cult of Muthappan in Northern Kerala

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Abstract

A living god from North Kerala, Muthappan attracts a wide range of Hindu believers, mostly due to his unconventionality and transgressiveness. But the large masses of followers, seeking individual blessings to satisfy their faith, induce deviations in the ritual sequence, especially to its length, which acts against the establishment of a liminal condition, the attainment of flow, and the achievement of communitas. In addition, the new devotees worship the teyyam at home according to models of Brahmanical temple ceremonies, thus jeopardizing the specificity—and anti-structural character—of the teyyam tradition. In both situations, faith, and an increased religious fervor, seem to act against the performance of the ritual.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages10
JournalEcumenica, Performance and Religion
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2021

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