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UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Topics Covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage


What to study?

  • Static Part: About UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Indian entries in the list, about Reggae.
  • Dynamic and Current: Significance of the list and the need for conservation.

Context: UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has added reggae to its list of cultural institutions worthy of protection and preservation.


Each year, UNESCO adds to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and Jamaica submitted reggae for consideration earlier this year. The genre now joins a list of over 300 cultural traditions, including numerous musical ones such as Dominican merengue, Slovakian bagpipe music and Vietnamese xoan singing.

About Reggae:

It is Jamaican music originating from marginalized groups, mainly in Western Kingston. It was started out as voice of marginalized. But now it is played and embraced by wide cross-section of society, including various genders, ethnic and religious groups.

About UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage:

  • This coveted list is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance.
  • The list was established in 2008 when Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage came into effect.
  • It has two parts viz. Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of urgent safeguarding.
  • From India the Intangible Cultural Heritages added into this list include:
    • Tradition of Vedic chanting
    • Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayana
    • Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre
    • Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas.
    • Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala
    • Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan
    • Chhau dance
    • Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur
    • Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab
    • Yoga
    • Nawrouz
    • Kumbh Mela

Sources: the hindu.