UNESCO adds Cuban rumba and Belgian beer to list of world’s intangible heritage

Dec 1, 2016 12:58 IST

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 30 November 2016 added Cuba’s rumba dance and Belgian beer to its coveted list of “intangible” heritage.

In addition, the UN body also included Portuguese pottery and Ugandan traditional music into the list at the meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The Cuban delegation dedicated the rumba’s selection to Fidel Castro, who passed away recently.

The UNESCO stated that the rumba evokes “grace, sensuality and joy”. As the rumba sprang from poor communities in Cuba, the dance is an enduring “expression of resistance and self-esteem”. While for the Belgian beer, it said “making and appreciating beer is part of the living heritage... throughout Belgium”. The body stated that as Ugandan traditional music is dying out partly, it requires materials from endangered species, as intangible heritage “in urgent need of safeguarding”. For the Portuguese pottery, the UNESCO stated that the pottery is suffering from “waning interest from younger generations and popular demand for industrial alternatives”.

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About UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

UNESCO lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage aims at ensuring the better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance.

The list was established in 2008 when the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took effect.

The list now comprises 814 cultural sites, 203 natural ones and 35 with both natural and cultural qualities.

As of 2010, the programme compiles two lists. The longer is the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which includes cultural "practices and expressions that help demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raise awareness about its importance." The shorter one is the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, which comprises cultural elements that concerned communities and countries consider require urgent measures to keep them alive.

List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in India

Koodiyattam, Sanskrit Theatre, Kerala
Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab
Mudiyett: a ritual theatre of Kerala
Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur
The Tradition of Vedic Chanting
Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Ramlila: the Traditional Performance of the Ramayana
Chhau dance: a tradition from eastern India
Ramman: religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas
Kalbelia: folk songs and dances of Rajasthan

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