Culture et sport

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: 43 new inscriptions in 2021

Arabic calligraphy, rumba or truffle hunting are some of the elements inscribed to UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2021.

Xòe dance of the Tai people in Viet Nam, inscribed at the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Xòe is a form of Vietnamese dancing performed at rituals, weddings, village festivals and community events. | © Viet Nam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies, 2019

This year, 39 elements have been inscribed in the UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Another four appeared in the list in need of urgent safeguarding.

The list in need of urgent safeguarding totals 71 elements of living heritage whose viability is under threat and mobilizes “international assistance to strengthen the transmission of these cultural practices“.

The four new elements to urgently safeguard are Tais, a traditional textile from Timor-Leste, the M’Bolon, a traditional percussion instrument from Mali and two types of wood-carved canoes used in Estonia and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The Committee inscribed intangible cultural heritage elements in 9 countries for the first time: Congo, Denmark, Haiti, Iceland, Federated Republic of Micronesia, Montenegro, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Seychelles and Timor-Leste. The list now features 630 elements from 140 countries.

Ceebu jën and Joumou soup as intangible human cultural heritage

The new comers go from falconry, Arabic calligraphy to the hunting and extraction of truffles in Italy.

Rumba in Congo, xòe in Vietnam, nora in Thailand, moutya in Seychelles are some dances part of cultural heritage now.

The Inuit artistic expression in Greenland for Denmark, the pasillo in Ecuador, Morocco’s equestrian performances during a tbourida, dutar music from Turkmenistan, falak songs and folklore music in Tajikistan or Uzbekistan‘s epic stories with bakhshi performances are some of the new art-related living heritage to preserve.

For food, Ceebu jën, the national dish in Senegal and Joumou soup, a celebratory Haitian pumpkin soup, are also part of the list that seeks to enhance visibility for the traditions and know-how of communities.

The Committee examined 62 files and therefore approved 69% of them. The process for safeguarding is then the responsibility of states which need to inform the Convention on measures taken or progress made to safeguard inscribed elements.

The Committee also allotted US$172,000 to a safeguarding project in Mongolia, $116,000 in Djibouti, $266,000 in Timor-Leste.

Read more about the world

Tbourida in Morocco, inscribed at the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Tbourida is a Moroccan equestrian performance simulating a succession of military parades. It dates back from the sixteenth century | © Société Royale d’Encouragement du Cheval, 2016
Rumba in Congo, inscribed at the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Rumba is a musical genre and a dance of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo. It is usually danced by a male-female couple. | © Etienne Kokolo, 2018
Örnek a Ukrainian system of symbols, inscribed at the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Örnek is a Ukrainian system of symbols with specific meanings arranged in a way to create a narrative composition. It can be used in embroidery, pottery, engraving, jewellery, wood carving, etc. | © Chorna Kateryna, 2019
Grand Festival of Tarija in Bolivia, inscribed at the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
The Grand Festival of Tarija in Bolivia in celebrated every year in August and September | © Omar Flores, 2016
Durga Puja in Kolkata, India, inscribed at the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Durga Puja is a celebration for the Hindu mother-goddess Durga, notably observed in West Bengal of India | © Kallol Lahiri, 2008
Ceebu Jën
Ceebu jën, or thiéboudiène, is a Senegalese dish usually made of fish, vegetables and rice. Most families eat Ceebu jën with the hands
Bakhshi art in Uzbekistan, inscribed at the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Bakhshi art plays epic stories based on myths and legends and told in the form of poetry and music | © National Commission of Uzbekistan for UNESCO, 2019
Joumou soup, Haiti, inscribed at the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Joumou or giraumon soup is a traditional celebratory Haitian pumpkin soup | © DPH-2021

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