Rebuilding the roofs of the dry stone shelters during 'Moj kažun - La mia casita' community heritage campaign, which has been taking place around Vodnjan-Istria-Croatia every May since 2007. Restoration of numerous beloved local mini-landmarks by local stone professionals followed by educational and volunteering events
© Branko Orbanić, 2011
29 November 2018

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, meeting in Mauritius until 1 December, inscribed thirty-one elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Representative List seeks to enhance visibility for the traditions and know-how of communities without recognizing standards of excellence or exclusivity.

The newly inscribed elements are:

  • Austria; Czechia; Germany; Hungary; Slovakia—Blaudruck/Modrotisk/Kékfestés/Modrotlač, resist block printing and indigo dyeing in Europe–Blaudruck/Modrotisk/Kékfestés/Modrotlač, which translates as blueprint or blue-dyeing, refers to the practice of printing a dye-resistant paste onto a cloth before it is dyed indigo. The paste prevents the dye from penetrating the design. To apply the designs onto the cloth, practitioners use hand-crafted blocks up to 300 years old, featuring regionally-inspired patterns, generic designs or Christian motifs. Nowadays, the practice mainly survives in family-owned workshops, run by second to seventh generation printers, and traditional knowledge is recorded in 19th century journals, most of which are family-owned.
  • Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey—Heritage of Dede Qorqud/Korkyt Ata/Dede Korkut, epic culture, folk tales and music—The epic culture, folk tales and music of Dede Qorqud/Korkyt Ata/Dede Korkut (Grandfather Qorud) are based on 12 heroic legends, stories and tales and 13 traditional musical compositions transmitted orally through performances with specific cultural codes and musical compositions. The legendary character of Dede Qorqud appears in each story as an old man whose words, music and expressions of wisdom relate to traditions associated with birth, marriage and death. The practice contains profound knowledge about the history and culture of Turkic-speaking communities and is practised and sustained on a wide variety of occasions.
  • Belarus—Celebration in honor of the Budslaŭ icon of Our Lady (Budslaŭ fest)—The Budslaŭ Fest takes place in Budslaŭ village, in the Minsk region. Every early July since the 17th century, tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over Belarus and other countries come to Budslaŭ to participate in the celebrations of the Budslaŭ Icon of Our Lady, who is said to have appeared to believers in Budslaŭ in July 1588. Taking pride in the relic, locals offer pilgrims a warm welcome and invite them to share meals with them in their homes.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina—Picking of iva grass on Ozren mountain—Every year, on 11 September, the day of the beheading of St. John the Baptist, inhabitants of villages around Ozren Mountain go up to Gostilj to pick Iva grass before assembling in smaller groups to play, dance and sing traditional music. In the afternoon, Orthodox priests consecrate the Iva. Iva is used to cure and prevent disease and the practice helps preserve traditional costumes, songs and dances. Several local associations invite similar organizations from other regions to partake in the tradition.
  • Croatia—Međimurska popevka, a folksong from Međimurje—Međimurska popevka, a folksong from the Međimurje region, was historically predominantly sung by female soloists. Nowadays, it is performed by individuals and groups, men and women, in vocal, vocal-instrumental, instrumental, monophonic and multipart renditions, as a musical genre incorporated into the dance. The element is practised in a broad range of social contexts, from solitary music-making to family and community happenings, and most inhabitants will have experienced popevka on numerous occasions throughout their lives.
  • Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland—Art of dry stone walling, knowledge and techniques—The art of dry stone walling concerns the art of building by stacking stones upon one another, without using any other materials except, in some case, dry soil. This know-how is preserved in rural communities where the practice is deeply rooted, and among construction industry professionals. Dry-stone structures have shaped numerous and diverse landscapes with a variety of constructions used as dwellings, for farming and animal husbandry. Such structures testify to the methods used by people from prehistory to the present in organizing their living and working space by optimizing local natural and human resources.
  • Cuba—Festivity of Las Parrandas in the centre of Cuba—Held for the first time in 1820 in the town of Remedios, the Festivity of Las Parrandas is a cultural competition now celebrated by 18 communities in the centre of Cuba. During the competition, each town is divided into two competing parties or neighbourhoods, with ‘spies’ attempting to spoil the opposing neighbourhood’s surprise on the night of the festivity. The festivities combine tradition and modernity and involve a wide range of expressions, including crafts, designs, costumes, music, pyrotechnics and woodwork.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Ssirum (wrestling) is a physical game practised popularly in all regions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, where two opponents try to push each other to the ground using a satpa (a fabric strap connecting the waist and leg), their torso, hands and legs. Ssirum is distinguished by the use of the satpa and the awarding of a bull to the winner. Since ancient times, Koreans have practised Ssirum for physical training purposes during breaks from work and, especially, during big contests on folk holidays. On folk days, when Ssirum takes place, lots of people (old and young) gather around the ring: wrestlers compete using diverse techniques; spectators enthusiastically cheer on their favorites; and the winner rides a bull in celebration. As an exercise of the whole body, Ssirum fosters the cultivation of the body and mind. It also encourages mutual respect and cooperation, contributing to the harmony and cohesion of communities and groups. Pyongyang, the capital city, plays a central role in enacting, protecting and transmitting Ssirum, comprising a number of communities, organizations and institutions concerned with the practice, including the Korean Ssirum Association. Koreans start learning Ssirum from family members and neighbours from childhood, and it is taught by educational institutions at all levels.
Republic of Korea: Ssireum, or traditional wrestling, is a popular form of entertainment widely enjoyed across the Republic of Korea. Ssireum is a type of wrestling in which two players wearing long fabric belts around their waists and one thigh grip their opponents’ belt and deploy various techniques to send them to the ground. The winner of the final game for adults is awarded an ox, symbolizing agricultural abundance, and the title of ‘Jangsa’. When the games are over, the Jangsa parades around the neighbourhood riding the ox in celebration. Ssireum games take place on sand in any available space in a neighbourhood, and are open to community members of all ages, from children to seniors. They are played on various occasions, including traditional holidays, market days and festivals. Different regions have developed variants of ssireum based on their specific backgrounds, but they all share the common social function of ssireum – enhancing community solidarity and collaboration. As an approachable sport involving little risk of injury, ssireum also offers a means of improving mental and physical health. Koreans are broadly exposed to ssireum traditions within their families and local communities: children learn the wrestling skills from family members; local communities hold annual open wrestling tournaments; and instruction on the element is also provided in schools.

  • Georgia - Chidaoba, wrestling in Georgia Combining elements of wrestling, music, dance and special garments, Chidaoba (wrestling) is an ancient form of martial art, now a spectacular sport practised in villages and communities throughout Georgia. The practice is based on a chivalric code of conduct, with vibrant music enhancing the dynamics of the contest. What distinguishes Chidaoba from other martial arts is the use of specific wrestling holds, the combination of which speaks to the wrestlers’ creativity, and the practice plays a key role in encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
  • Ireland - Hurling - Hurling is a field game played by two teams using a wooden stick (hurley) to strike a small ball (sliotar) between the opposing team’s goalposts. Unregulated in the past, adult teams nowadays number 15 players playing on a clearly marked pitch. The skills involved are transmitted through coaching and games and the Gaelic Athletic Association and Camogie Association play a key role in transmitting the values and skills of hurling.
  • Jamaica - Reggae music of Jamaica - Originating within the cultural space of marginalized groups, mainly in Western Kingston, the Reggae Music of Jamaica combines musical influences from earlier Jamaican forms as well as Caribbean, North American and Latin strains. Its basic functions as a vehicle of social commentary, as a cathartic experience, and means of praising God remain unchanged, and the music continues to provide a voice for all. Students are taught how to play it from an early age, and festivals and concerts are central to ensuring its viability.
  • Japan - Raiho-shin, ritual visits of deities in masks and costumesRaiho-shin rituals take place annually in different parts of Japan, on days marking the beginning of the year or a change in season. The rituals stem from folk beliefs that deities (the Raiho-shin) visit communities and usher in the new year or season. During the rituals, local people dressed in outlandish costumes visit houses, admonishing laziness and teaching children good behaviour. The head of the household then treats the deities to a special meal although in some communities the rituals take place in the streets.
  • Jordan - As-Samer in Jordan - As-Samer consists mainly of dancing and singing, most commonly performed during marriage ceremonies. During the performance, the father of the groom instructs attendees to line up and start applauding and singing. One of the dancers then calls for Al-Hashi (a veiled woman), who dances in front of the row until someone holds her back. She later resumes her movements and the dancers perform what is called ‘Sahja’, with Al-Hashi dancing between the rows. The poetry chanted during the performance expresses feelings of joy, peace and empathy, and attendees of all ages are encouraged to take part.
  • Kazakhstan - Traditional spring festive rites of the Kazakh horse breeders - Traditional spring festive rites of the Kazakh horse breeders mark the end of the old and the beginning of the new yearly horse-breeding cycle. Preceded by year-long celebrations, the rites have three main constituents: ‘Biye baylau’, the ancient ‘first milking’ rite; ‘Ayghyr kosu’, a rite for adjoining stallions in herds; and ‘Kymyz muryndyk’, the ‘first sharing of koumis,’ a drink of fermented mare’s milk. Faced with the transition from nomadic to sedantry life in the 20th century, bearers have adapted traditional horse breeding to present-day conditions.
  • Malawi - Mwinoghe, joyous dance -Mwinoghe is an instrumental dance performed in three ethnic communities in northern Malawi. In the Chisukwa dialect, Mwinoghe literally means ‘Let us enjoy ourselves’ and the dance is indeed expressive of joy and happiness. Dancers line up in two rows (men on one side, women on the other), and perform elaborate twisting body and foot movements to the sound of three drums, a whistle and the group leader’s commands. People from all walks of life gather to watch the dance, which is performed at social gatherings and on days of national significance.
  • Malaysia - Dondang Sayang - Dondang Sayan is a traditional Malay art that combines elements of music (violins, gongs and tambourines or tambours), songs and chants, featuring beautiful melodious strains of poetry. Based on tradition, Dondang Sayang performances are accompanied by music and sung by two singers of the opposite sex, who sing in quatrains. Performances are open to all, and the art strengthens community bonding by conveying positive messages and sharing feelings of love, joy and sorrow. Performances are held regularly, especially during gatherings, festivals and parties.
  • Mexico - La Romería (the pilgrimage): ritual cycle of ‘La llevada’ (the carrying) of the Virgin of Zapopan- The annual celebration of La Romería on 12 October, honouring the image of the Virgin of Zapopan, dates back to 1734. The day marks the final phase of the annual ritual cycle popularly known as ‘The Carrying of the Virgin’, which begins in May and includes many community and liturgical activities. The cycle ends with the return journey to the Basilica, in Zapopan, with the participation of more than two million people. Throughout the year, different communities work together to plan the event, helping to reinforce social ties.
  • Oman - Horse and camel Ardhah - Horse and camel Ardhah is practised across many regions of Oman. On Alardhah day, people gather around the racecourse to enjoy the showmanship of horse and camel riders. Other artistic performances such as recitals of traditional poetry are held alongside the main show. Alardhah starts with a series of traditional acts followed by a parade of horses and camels draped in decorative cloth. Alardhah reflects Omani people’s skill in taming and training horses and camels, and their devotion to the care of animals.
  • Panama - Ritual and festive expressions of the Congo culture - The ritual and festive expressions of the Congo culture encompass the contemporary vision of a collective celebration of the descendents of black rebels enslaved in the colonial period. During the Congo season, participants use a palisade to stage a matriarchal society ruled by a queen and her court. Everyone must help protect the queen and members of the palisade from the devils (diablos), and the season concludes with a confrontation between the diablos and the Congos. Everyone takes part in the festival, which has contributed to social integration over generations.
  • Poland - Nativity scene (szopka) tradition in Krakow - The Nativity Scene (szopka) tradition of Krakow is a practice originating from Christmas celebration customs focusing on the construction of cribs. The szopka is a lightweight structure featuring the scene of the nativity surrounded by representations of houses and monuments of Krakow. Other scenes are also represented depicting historical and contemporary cultural and social events. On the first Thursday of December, makers gather on Krakow Main Square to present their work. The practice has important educational functions, passing on knowledge about the history of the city, its architecture and customs.
  • Serbia - Singing to the accompaniment of the Gusle - Singing to the accompaniment of the Gusle – a simple string instrument – is an ancient art of performing primarily heroic epics. Performances are carried out by soloists (guslars) who engage the audience in a complex form of interaction. Covering a wide range of topics, from archetypal motifs to historical themes and modern life, the songs reflect the community’s value system. Local organizations are assembled around the Union of Guslars of Serbia, which has established the Festival of Young Guslars and the Assembly of the Young Guslars of Serbia.
  • Slovenia - Bobbin lacemaking in Slovenia - The handicraft of bobbin lacemaking in Slovenia consists of the skilled crossing and twisting of thread wound on special wooden sticks known as bobbins. Using locally recognizable patterns with local names, bobbin lacemakers produce lace in bands or in finished shapes. Their production serves to adorn clothing and fashion accessories, church and home textiles and representative spaces. It is furthermore an inspiration for artistic creations more generally. The practice has notable therapeutic functions and is most frequently passed down from grandmothers to grandchildren.
  • Spain - Tamboradas drum-playing rituals - Tamboradas drum-playing rituals are loud, group rituals based on the simultaneous, intense and continuous beating of thousands of drums, played uninterruptedly for days and nights in public spaces in towns and villages. The tamboradas are part of the celebration of Catholic Holy Week, and take on specific significance according to the place, day and time they are performed. Everywhere, they create a captivating landscape of sound and identity in an atmosphere charged with an intense feeling of collective communion and mutual respect.
  • Sri Lanka - Rūkada Nātya, traditional string puppet drama in Sri Lanka - Rūkada Nātya is a type of drama performed using string puppets to provide entertainment and convey moral messages to village communities. Rūkada Nātya is performed by family groups connected to the Gamwari community, living around three southern coastal towns. Themes are chosen from folktales, Buddhist stories, ancient literature, historical narratives and trivia with humorous anecdotes. The puppeteers make their own wooden puppets and prepare handwritten scripts. A small band provides musical accompaniment, and performances, which are community events, convey worldviews and core values.
  • Switzerland; Austria - Avalanche risk management - element: 01380Avalanche risk management has shaped the identity of Alpine populations, who over the centuries developed local empirical knowledge, management and risk-avoidance strategies and cultural practices to protect themselves from avalanche hazards. Nowadays, modern tools complement traditional knowledge, which continues to be developed on the ground by knowledge bearers. In both countries, preventing avalanches is a task involving the entire community; it forms an integral part of the everyday culture of the communities concerned and underscores the importance of solidarity in crisis situations.
  • Tajikistan - Chakan, embroidery art in the Republic of Tajikistan - The art of Chakan embroidery is the practice of sewing ornaments, images of flowers and symbolic drawings with colourful threads on cotton or silk fabrics. Chakan embroidery is used to decorate clothing and household items, and features symbolic depictions and mythological images relating both to the natural environment and the cosmos, expressing people’s hopes and aspirations. The products are expressions of beauty and of the ties that connect humans and nature. The younger generation learn the art from their mothers, grandmothers and older sisters, as well as through the ‘ustod-shogird’ (master-student) method.
  • Thailand - Khon, masked dance drama in Thailand - Khon, the Khon Masked Dance-Drama in Thailand, is a performing art combining graceful dance movements, instrumental and vocal renditions and glittering costumes. Khon performances, which have a strong didactic function, depict the life and glory of Rama, the hero and incarnation of the god Vishnu, who brings order and justice to the world. While traditionally Khon was transmitted in the royal or princely courts and in dance masters’ households, nowadays transmission occurs mostly in educational institutions, while still adhering largely to traditional methods.
  • Tunisia - Pottery skills of the women of Sejnane - The pottery skills of the women of Sejnane contribute to the practice of a specific technique in the production of terracotta artefacts for domestic use. They are decorated with two-tone geometrical patterns reminiscent of traditional tattoos and Berber weaving. All stages of the pottery-making process are performed by women, but men are involved in the sales process, making this a family-based craft. The women of Sejnane have adapted their craft to modern-day needs and fluctuations in demand, demonstrating a capacity for innovation.
  • Zambia - Mooba dance of the Lenje ethnic group of Central Province of Zambia - Mooba is the main dance of the Lenje ethnic group of the Central Province of Zambia, performed since pre-colonial times. On certain occasions, when the dance reaches its peak, ancestral spirits called BaChooba take possession of some lead dancers. The spirits are then said to take the lead in dictating the flow of the dance, drumming and singing. Mooba is performed during social functions open to the public and attract a wide audience due to their entertaining nature.


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