Thirayattam is a centuries-old ritual art form popular in north Kerala. It is performed to appease the divine elements believed to be present at kavus (shrines) and ancestral homes. The kolams (characters) include Lord Siva, his attendants, goddess Devi, deceased heads of families and local heroes. The performers belong to the communities of Vannan, Velar and Malayar. Thira is noted for the makeup, headgear and ornaments. Natural colours are used for facial makeup. The makeup would differ according to the character. Some kolams would have face masks and artificial eyes. The headgear is made of arecanut palm, tender coconut leaves, bamboo and wood. The percussion instruments include chenda (drum), thudi (small drum), ilathalam (cymbals) and kurumkuzhal (wind instrument).

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