Thirayattam is enacted on various themes including divinities and legendary social figures whose heroic feats are popular in the region. Natives celebrate Thirayattam with great devotion towards their deities known as ‘Koolam’ or ‘Moorthy’. Dancers disguise themselves as ‘Koolam’ in vibrant unique costumes and ornaments.
The two important aspects of ‘koolam’s costume is the Mughamezhuthu (facial paintings) and melezhuthu (body paintings) which is done by skilled artisans. Makeup is derived from natural items like leaves and barks or bamboo and coconut trees are used for mask, hair and beards. The performers go in to trance with the ‘koolam’ they enact with vivacious aggressive moves and postures believed to be sacred. Dancers need to have great flexibility while performing Thirayattam dance. Some believe many forms of martial arts have originated from it. Some of the weapons like “Val” (sword), “Paricha” (shield),“Shoolam” (trident),“Kuntham” (Sphere), “ AmbumVillum” (Bow and arrow) to name a few are commonly used in Thirayattam.