07.12.2012 -

Europe: New inscriptions of cultural elements on the Intangible Heritage Representative List

© 2004 by Melitta Abber, The vocal group called 'Fasnachtslabara' perform a song, which traditionally deals with the misfortune of an inhabitant of lmst - Austria

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, meeting at UNESCO Headquarters until 7 December, inscribed 9 new elements from Europe on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Schemenlaufen, the carnival of Imst (Austria)

The city of Imst celebrates its Fasnacht carnival every four years on the Sunday before the Christian season of Lent. The central festivity is Schemenlaufen, a procession of masked, costumed dancers. The main characters wear bells and perform a special musical dance of jumps and bows. Masked chimney sweeps climb houses, witches shout at the audience accompanied by a band playing dissonant melodies, and bears demonstrate their strength. The carnival unites the whole population of Imst in a common goal: organizing the Fasnacht in accordance with long-standing tradition.

Marches of Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse (Belgium)

The Marches of Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse are a major component of the cultural identity of Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse in Wallonia, Belgium. These military marches commemorate the dedication of the village church and feature the participation of the entire village. The escorted processions consist of several companies, grouping tens, even hundreds of marchers. The participants dress in military uniforms, forming one or more companies that escort the religious procession, accompanied by drums, fifes and songs. Young people march alongside their parents in the Young Guard or other companies.

Klapa multipart singing of Dalmatia, southern Croatia (Croatia)

Klapa singing is a multipart singing tradition of Dalmatia. Multipart singing, a capella homophonic singing, oral tradition and simple music making are its main features. The leader of each singing group is the first tenor, followed by several tenori, baritoni and basi voices. During performances, the singers stand in a tight semicircle, and the first tenor starts the singing, followed by the others. The aim is to achieve the best possible blend of voices. Klapa songs deal with love, life situations, and the local environment.

Fest-Noz, festive gathering based on the collective practice of traditional dances of Brittany (France)

 Fest-Noz is a festive gathering based on the collective practice of traditional Breton dances, accompanied by singing or instrumental music. The Breton cultural movement has preserved this expression of a living and constantly renewed practice of inherited dance repertoires with several hundred variations, and thousands of tunes. The Fest-Noz is characterized by an intense camaraderie among singers, musicians and dancers, significant social and intergenerational diversity, and openness to others. It is at the centre of an intense ferment of musical experiences and has spawned a veritable cultural economy.

Folk art of the Matyó, embroidery of a traditional community (Hungary)

 The folk art of the Roman Catholic Matyó community in and around the town of Mezőkövesd in north-eastern Hungary is characterized by floral motifs that are found in flat-stitch embroidery, interior decoration and architecture. The national popularity of Matyó embroidery has made it into a form of auxiliary income, enabling women to buy the fine fabrics and supplies necessary for making elaborate costumes. Most often practised as a communal activity, embroidery strengthens interpersonal relationships and community cohesion, while allowing for individual artistic expression.

Traditional violin craftsmanship in Cremona (Italy)

Cremonese violin craftsmanship is renowned for its traditional process of fashioning violins, violas, cellos and contrabasses. Each violin-maker constructs from three to six instruments per year, shaping and assembling more than 70 pieces of wood around an inner mould by hand, according to the different acoustic response of each piece. Every part is made with a specific wood, carefully selected and naturally well-seasoned. Craftsmanship requires a high level of creativity to adapt techniques and personal knowledge to each instrument. No two violins are alike.

Craftsmanship of Horezu ceramics (Romania)

Horezu ceramics are a unique traditional craft, handmade in Vâlcea County, Romania. The potters select and extract the earth, which is then cleaned, cut, watered, kneaded, trampled and mixed – transforming it into a clay body from which they produce a red pottery. Each object is shaped with a special finger technique, decorated with traditional motifs in vivid shades, and then fired. The potters rely on traditional tools: mixers, potter's wheels, combs, tools for decoration and wood-burning stoves.

Fiesta of the patios in Cordova (Spain)

For twelve days in May, the city of Cordova celebrates the Fiesta of the Patios. The patio houses are a characteristic communal cultural space located in the city’s historical quarter. They boast an abundant array of plants, and during the fiesta inhabitants welcome all visitors to share in their beauty and the skill involved in their creation. The patios host traditional singing, flamenco guitar and dancing, and ancestral practices of sustainable communal coexistence are shared with visitors through expressions of affection and shared food and drink.

Falconry, a living human heritage (United Arab Emirates - Austria - Belgium - Czech Republic - France - Hungary - Republic of Korea - Mongolia - Morocco - Qatar - Saudi Arabia - Spain - Syrian Arab Republic)

Falconry is the traditional activity of keeping and training falcons to take quarry in its natural state. It is practised in many countries worldwide. Originally a way of obtaining food, falconry is today identified with camaraderie and sharing. Falconry is mainly found along migration flyways and corridors, and is practised by amateurs and professionals of all ages and genders. Falconers develop a strong relationship and spiritual bond with their birds, and commitment is required to breed, train, handle and fly the falcons.

The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in 2003 and now includes 148 States Parties. Only those countries that have ratified the Convention are eligible to present items for inscription on the Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage comprises 24 UNESCO Member States, elected for a term of four years. Half the Committee is renewed every two years.

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