Panans are described as devil dancers. They make umbrellas with the leaves of the Palmyra tree. Their women used to serve as midwives. They are the descendants of Malayans, the hill tribe, and they go about at the time of harvest from house to house to exorcise evil spirits from the bodies of children. They are known for the melodious music.
The Panan and his wife Patti, visit the village houses at mid night and sing 'tuyilunarttu pattu' (awakening song) to the accompaniment of a percussion instrument called Maddalam. The Patti joins him in singing and keeps the beats with a bell metal vessel and with a knife. Shiva and Parvathi are their favourite gods who are said to have bestowed boons on their predecessors to earn their lively hood by adopting music as their profession. They receive gift like paddy, coconut, salt, oil, cloth from the village houses.