In 1909, a British writer wrote that the Kanakkan people wore a sacred thread, which is normally reserved for high caste Brahmins. This is strange since this group is from a scheduled caste community.
The Padannan is also called Kanakkan (not the Kanakkan of Palakkad District). They claim that they were brought to Kerala to maintain accounts of the temples and given the title Kanakkapillai (accountant). The title Kanakkapillai has become Kannakkan in the course of time. However, they are not using the title Kanakkapillai. Their traditional occupations are fishing in backwaters, lime burning and salt panning. Many follow these occupations still now. They speak a mixed language of Tamil and Malayalam. They follow Hinduism. They are grouped under the Scheduled Caste. They are non-vegetarians.
The Padannan is following both nuclear and joint family systems. They observe pre-delivery rituals and post delivery pollution. Birth pollution lasts for 26 days. They also observe naming ceremony and choroonu. They perform puberty rite known as koottukalyanam. They follow monogamy. Marriages are performed at the bride’s residence. They cremate their dead and Death pollution (Pula) is observed for 11 days.
Traditionally they worked as coconut pickers who also extracted toddy from coconut and palm trees.
Almost all the Kanakkan people live in India's beautiful southwestern state of Kerala. They do not live in other countries.
This is an endogamous community, meaning that they only marry within their own. If you do some web searching, you will find that they have their own matrimonial sites. They commonly marry their cousins. When a Kanakkan couple gets divorced, they have a very simple procedure: they just separate, and everyone understands that they are divorced. Their children can stay with either parent. Nuclear families are becoming more common among them.
Most of them are landless agricultural laborers. They have a surprisingly high literacy rate given their low economic status.
Almost all of them are Hindus, though there are a few who profess Christianity. They family deity is Nerachikavu Bhagvati. They also worship various village and other Hindu deities.