While recently Georgia has just 4 elements inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and one element under the process of evaluation to be inscribed in the Urgent Safeguarding list, the country is really rich for its traditional and centuries old living heritage.
The global danger of the pandemic dictates us a new style of life, acting and expressing our creativity. The lockdown condition caused the closing of all museums, cultural centres, heritage sites and etc. In such circumstances when the physical interaction is impossible, the social digital networks turned into the most and only available tool to share with the living traditions in Georgia.
So, through social media the community members invite others to participate in the different challenges related to the ICH elements. The interesting fact can be fixed: in line with contemporary kind of entertainment. The more attention is given to the traditional elements - practicing for survival and for fun. Such interaction first of all helps to maintain the ICH elements and to develop/transform them within new shape of our lives.
For instance, one of the most popular challenges is to invite people to record singing at home and distribute these recordings through social media encouraging others to get involved in this online “game”. The National Folklore Center implements a number of activities to distribute through online platforms such as the recordings made by centre and masterclasses. Another interesting challenge is to bake bread at homes and share the results online with the other members of the community. More and more people are trying themselves to discover the old traditional recipes of bread baking and further popularize these methods showing digitally the results of their activities.
The same should be mentioned about culinary traditions. The special open groups invite to discover the different interesting receipts of Georgian and worldwide cuisine, and to share their experiences. One of the most funny interactive initiatives widely supported by social media is to hold Georgian tables – feasts in online manner. The people prepare some traditional dishes and drinks and arrange the special table at the computer: in online manner they arrange an attractive party with toasts, delicious dishes, songs and even dancing.
The Women’s Council (the union of Women that was established more than a century ago and already inscribed in the National ICH Inventory) encourages people under lockdown at home by singing them Georgian songs by phone.
Taking into account that seasonal agricultural works should be suspended, the Government of Georgia allows the farmers and people related to this sector to work despite of the overall public emergency condition, under the very strict provisions on safety.
Moreover, while previous to the pandemic, tourism was considered as a main sector for sustainable economic development of the country, the new conditions stimulated the government to give priority to the agricultural sector to satisfy the local needs. So, all activities related to the traditional agriculture are actively practicing without any suspensions.
And at last, but not least, it should be mentioned the online platforms for teaching and gaining experience in ICH. The webinars are important tool for gaining the knowledge and experience that is widely experienced in Georgia helping the different actors to increase their professional abilities. One of the most active NGOs - Georgian Heritage Craft Association - initiated to promote the artisans through the online publications on the existing. Craft workshops in the regions. GHCA also provides online workshop and training to the crafts makers to provide help with the designs and raise their capacity in the time of the crises.
- Relevant links
Georgian Public Broadcasting send worldwide online application “You are not alone” – on 40 different languages accompanying by Georgian polyphonic song:
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