Panans are traditionally umbrella makers and occupy areas in Ernakulam
districts of Kerala
. They make characteristic umbrellas with the leaves of the Palmyra tree. They are also regarded as devil dancers. The women of the Panan group used to serve as midwives and have good knowledge of plants and herbs. Panans are devotees of Lord Shiva
Panans are well known for their traditional Panan Pattu. The songs are mainly based on epics. They used to sing songs on festive occasions and also at durbars. In olden days, the Panan used to sing 'tuyilunarttu pattu' (awakening song) in the village houses at midnight with the accompaniment of a percussion instrument called Maddalam. With a bell metal vessel and a knife, the Patti joins him in singing and keeps the beats.
Most Panans engage in farming, but now they are fast improving in all areas of employment.
The word ‘Panan’ is derived from the word ‘pan’ means music. There is also a group with the same name in Tamil Nadu.