UNESCO Expands List of Intangible World Heritages

Kirkpinar festival, Turkey

Kirkpinar festival, Turkey

The U.N. culture and education agency has just expended its list of intangible world heritages adding the traditions and 43 other cultural elements from a 11 countries to the protected gems we need to promote and preserve. The announcement was made at a meeting held on Tuesday in Nairobi.

Peking Opera, Spanish Flamenco and the art of French gastronomy made the list, along with other more obscure additions – Luxembourg’s centuries-old annual hopping procession held in the village of Echternach, the blade-twirling of a scissor-dancing ritual dating back to the 16th century in the Chanka region, Peru, Turkey’s 648-year-old Kirkpinar festival when men wrestle in cooking oil. The world heritage nominations, apart from festivals and rituals, also included arts – Chinese acupuncture.

Foodies will be happy to know that not only French cuisine made it to the list, so did traditional Mexican cuisine and the Mediterranean diet.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has started the world heritage list back in 2003 to preserve art forms and other traditions threatened by the effects of globalization. The list’s purpose is to offer proper recognition to elements of living heritage, an attempt to protect cultural diversity and nurture the sense of community.

To make it to the list, a certain tradition must spread knowledge of intangible cultural heritage. Once recognized, protective measures are to be taken to promote and preserve them.

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