Poothan & Thira / a ritualistic art form of kerala

Largely confined to rural Palakkad, Malappuram and the northern parts of Thrissur, Poothan & Thira is a ritualistic art form that heralds a pooram/temple festival. It is usually performed once or twice a year to cleanse the entire village/hamlet off evil spirits. Performed by laymen, ‘Poothanum Thirayum’ is called so, after its two protagonists who are evocative of the innumerable village deities.

A typical Poothan-Thira performance is essentially spontaneous, comprising mostly shouts and wild gestures. However, the outlandish duo is immensely popular amongst children. The players are usually attired in bright, tightly woven costumes embellished with gold-coloured trinkets. Their larger-than life headdresses with peacock features, long tresses and imposing masks with protruding tongues and eyes are sure to leave a lasting impression even on the uninitiated.

The Poothan and the Thira with their concomitant bells and anklets are synonymous with serene & unsullied villages that have long ceased to be a reality in Kerala.