The Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) of UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) 2003 Convention on Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) has inscribed ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of ICH of Humanity during its 16th session of IGC which was held in Paris, France from 13 to 18 December 2021.
- With the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata, India now have 14 ICH elements on the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity.
- This inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata represents the recognition of the confluence of India’s rich heritage, culture, rituals & practices and a celebration of feminine divinity & the spirit of womanhood.
- Before Durga Puja, the two latest inscriptions in the ICH list from India are Kumbh Mela (inscribed 2017) and Yoga (inscribed 2016), Navroz also inscribed on 2016 but it was not only from India but it is from with different countries namely, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
About Durga Puja:
i.Durga Puja is an annual festival celebrated in September or October, most notably in Kolkata, in West Bengal of India, but also in other parts of India and amongst the Bengali diaspora.
- It is a 10-day festival that begins on the fifth night of the 9-day Navratri festival and ends on the tenth day, which is Dashami.
ii.Clay models of the Goddess are designed and worshipped in ‘pandals’ or pavilions where communities get together and celebrate. People will collectively worship and invoke Hindu Goddess Durga, who is regarded as the feminine energy of the cosmos, also known as ‘Shakti’.
iii.Several folk music, culinary, craft, and performing arts traditions are also part of the celebration.
iv.The festival was originated in West Bengal (which has the largest Bengali community in India).
-43 elements inscribed on UNESCO’s ICH lists:
i.The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the ICH inscribed 4 elements on 2021 UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and 39 elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
ii.Chaired by Punchi Nilame Meegaswatte, Secretary-General of the National Commission of Sri Lanka for UNESCO, the Intergovernmental Committee also added 4 projects to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices. Click here to know more
iii.UNESCO has allotted $172,000 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund to a safeguarding project presented by Mongolia, $116,400 to a project in Djibouti and a further $266,000 to a project in Timor-Leste.
iv.For the first time this year, the Intergovernmental Committee decided to inscribe elements from Congo, Denmark, Haiti Iceland, Federated Republic of Micronesia, Montenegro, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Seychelles and Timor-Leste to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage lists which now feature 630 elements from 140 countries.
UNESCO Honours Congolese Rumba, Adds it to Global Cultural Treasure List
Congolese rumba which is a musical genre and a dance common in urban areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo was inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
- It is a multicultural form of expression originating from an ancient dance called nkumba (meaning ‘waist’ in Kikongo).
About UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage:
i.It was established by UNESCO to ensure better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance. This list is published by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
ii.About the Committee: The core functions of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage are to promote the objectives of the Convention, provide guidance on best practices and make recommendations on measures for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage.
ii.The list consists of a longer ‘Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’, a shorter ‘List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding’, and Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.
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