Story Dated: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 22:1 hrs IST
Paana or Pallippaana, as it is sometimes called, is a ritual art to propitiate the goddess Bhadrakaali. The art form is popular in the districts of Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram. Paana is part of a three day festival.
A canopy is supported by 64 posts cut out from the Paala tree ( Alstonia scholaris) and adorned with tender palm fronds is erected near the shrine of the goddess. A stump of this tree is ceremonially brought to the site and planted there for the occasion and a nonfigurative kalam is drawn in the centre using coloured powders.
A ceremonial sword is placed on a red silk cloth under the tree stump to signify the presence of the goddess. At the end of a series of rites, the oracle arrives and moves in a trance around the kalam and the pandal (canopy).
The para, a variation of the chenda is the main percussion accompaniment. The drum beats work up to a frenzy to match the steps of the oracle. Performed during the night, the ritual lasts for about three hours.