Thiratheyyam or Parapoothan is a unique performing or ritualistic art form and a worshiping form of Hindu gods or local deities in west Palakkad, Malappuram and trichur dists.It is the alluring item in pakalvela with its attractive and colourful attires.
The myth related to the origin of Thiratheyyams can be explained in a story;The origin is related to shiva bhadrakali cult. Thirayattam performance was forbiden to Paraya community in Bhagavathy temples. Pakkanar sought a chance to worship Bhagavathy through a performing art. Pakkanar started to meditateLord Shiva. it is believed that Bhadrakali appeared before him and blessed him without uttering a word.But Bhadrakali left strange costumes suitable for a performing art on his Bhadrakalithara.
Lord Shiva appeared in pakkanars dream and lord taught him choreography ofParapoothan or Thiratheyyam.Agnihothry, the eldest among Parayipettapanthirukulam invited Pakkanar and his community to perform Kettiyattam and Thirayattam. Thiratheyyams or Para poothans visit each house hold and consecrete the devotees associated wth kavus or temples. They may visit with the accompaniment of Mookkan chathan also.
. Thira theyyam is mainly performed by paraya caste groups. by beating the drum four or five times the parayatheyyam annonces its arrival in house holds’the female members of the house hold receive theThiratheyyam orParapoothan ceremoniously by lighting the nilavilakku the holy lamp.After the performance devotees bestow offerinfg toThiraratheyyams.
There is a belief among devotees the performance of these Thiratheyyams will protect them from diseases and curses. Thiratheyyam or Parapoothans throw out the evil forces and protect people frm worries and bestowes all prosperity to villagers.
The large round-shaped headgears,.high ridged noses, protruding tongues, flowing black hair with peacock eyes, behind the pleated skirts these make them completely supernatural. Each dancer wears a girdle of bells;.heavy anklets of brass are tied to the legs.
1.Thalasseela-the divine head cloth of the performer.
2.The head gears known as ‘pettakam’ and ‘peranku’-it is made by carpenters.Peranku is made of brass and designed by brassiers .
3.Mukkuttam-special decoration on face made of brass or bronze plates.
chettiyakam, breast place brass breast kaithamara and vanchi.
4.Chettyakam-exaggerated ear decoration
7.Kaithamara-arm decoration made of brass.
8.Vanchi-is the festoon like long laces on the wrist(kaivanchi) where vanchi is fitted on the arm we call that thol vanchi(shoulder decoration). Vanchi is made of the bark of a tree locally called Vanchi) .
9.a girdle of bells (aramani)
10.heavy anklet (chilambu)
12.the pleated skirts
13.kamatham, a material made of plantain stem coverings to protect the ankle from the stress and strain caused by the movement of heavy anklet. A variety of dances are executed to the rhythm set by different folk drums like maram and chendaThe dance is usually performed byParayas.
the Thiratheyyam performer represents the god , gives of ritual performance that combines music and dance.The performing art forms and customs in society are part of culture and which provide continuity to culture.