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December 15, 2021

UNESCO inscribes ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Unesco, Durga Puja

Unesco, Durga Puja

Unesco, Durga Puja

Photos: Durga Puja inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Images Credit: UNESCO; Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

New Delhi, December 15, 2021 — In an important announcement, the Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO’s 2003 Convention on Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has inscribed ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during its 16th session being held at Paris, France from 13th to 18th December 2021. The Committee commended Durga Puja for its initiatives to involve marginalized groups and individuals and women in their participation in safeguarding the element.

As a ten-day celebration, Durga Puja represents the collective worship of the Hindu Goddess Durga. During this time, masterfully designed clay models of the Goddess are worshipped in “pandals” or pavilions where communities get together and celebrate. In addition, several folk pieces of music, culinary, craft, and performing arts traditions add to the dynamism of this celebration.

While Durga Puja is one of the most important festivals of West Bengal, India, it is widely observed across the country and in major cities of the world by the Bengali diaspora.

Durga Puja celebrates feminine divinity and a consummate expression of dance, music, crafts, rituals, practices, culinary and cultural aspects. The festival transcends the boundaries of caste, creed, and economic classes and joins the people together in its celebration.

With the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata, India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements on the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity. The recent ICH elements that saw inscriptions are Kumbh Mela (2017) and Yoga (2016).

India is a signatory of the 2003 UNESCO Convention, which aims for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage and traditions and living expression. Intangible cultural heritage means the practices, representations, words, knowledge, skills - as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts, and cultural spaces associated with them that communities, groups, and, in some cases, individuals recognize as a part of their cultural inheritance.

Sources: UNESCO; Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 1:01 PM | Link to this Post

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