Rakthachamundy is one of the most spectacular Theyyams. This Theyyam is performed in honor of Goddess Raktha Chamundi. Rakthachamundy is performed at several temples and groves in Kannur and Kasargod. The legend of Rakthachamundy
Goddess Chamundi is mentioned in scriptures like Markandeya Purana and Devi Mahatmya. Chamundi is an incarnation of Goddess Durga. According to one legend, Durga was fighting the demons Chanda and Munda and during this battle Kali emerged from her brow and killed the demons. Durga was impressed with Kali and called her Chamundi. According to this legend, Chamundi is another name of Kali. There is yet another story and according to that story Durga herself is Chamundi. She becomes Raktachamundi (Rakta means blood) when she drinks the blood of demons killed by her. You can read more about the most popular Hindu deities here. You may also want to read about the most popular Theyyams.
Once there lived a demon. He observed penance for several years and received the boon that whenever a drop of his blood fell on the ground, thousands of demons of equal strength would come out it. This boon made him invincible. It also earned him the name Rakta Bija. Knowing that none would be able to kill him, he started committing several atrocities. Distressed gods and people sought the help of Goddess Durga.
Durga engaged the demon in a fierce battle, but he proved too strong. Whenever she wounded him, more and more Rakta Bijas would come out of his blood. At last, the Goddess decided to swallow his blood before it falls on the ground. She used her divine powers to create a dark goddess called Kali. Kali came out of the forehead of Durga. She assisted Durga in the battle by lapping up the blood of Rakta Bija. This form of Kali who drinks blood is called Rakta Chamundi. There are several references to Goddess Chamundi in Puranas (ancient Hindu scriptures). According to one of these legends, Chamundi is one of the seven Avatars of Shakti who helped Shiva in his battle against the demon Andaka.
In pictorial representations, Chamundi has affable features. Kali, on the other hand, is always shown with fierce features. Both Chamundi and Kali are compassionate to people who adhere to Dharma (virtue). Theyyam is a performing art form of North Kerala.