Therevada is the oldest of the branches of Buddhism, and literally means “The Doctrine of the Elders”. This is referring to the more senior members of Buddhism including the Buddha himself.
Therevada Buddhism concerns itself mainly with the scripture that has been passed down over the years, and focuses heavily on the teaching itself, not the teacher.
Like most (if not all) Buddhist paths, Therevada holds no belief in a higher deity or God, but instead just preaches mindfulness and compassion.
This branch of Buddhism is most prominent in Sri Lanka, Burma, Maos and Thailand. This is why it is sometimes referred to as ‘Southern Buddhism’.
Therevada is what most would describe as pure Buddhism, as it maintains the closest resemblance to Buddhism as the Buddha originally founded it. However that does not mean that the Mahayana school of Buddhism is any worse, or better. The two compliment each other and serve different purposes in the Buddhist community.