A Culture in Need of Safeguards

Each year since 2009, UNESCO puts out two lists that closely look at indigenous practices across the world. The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding is composed of heritage elements that require urgent measures to keep them alive. During the period from 2009 to 2014, 38 elements have been included on this List. These include Mongolian calligraphy, the Paach (corn-veneration ritual) of Guatemala, the male child cleansing ceremony of northern Uganda, practices of the Kayas of the sacred forests of Mijikenda in Kenya and more. The second list –  Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – comprises practices that help demonstrate the diversity of heritage and raise awareness about their importance.

This second list is definitely longer and diverse – from the sung poetry form of Lebanon to the Turkish art of marbling (Ekru) and Estonia’s practice of smoke sauna tradition. Some of India’s indigenous practices and traditions, too, feature. There is the one of making brass and copper utensils in Punjab, the sacred Buddhist chanting in the trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh, and the ritual of Vedic chanting, among others.

Read more about them here.

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