Durga Puja in Kolkata inscribed on UNESCO Intangible Heritage list


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Durga Puja in Kolkata has been included by UNESCO in its representative list of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’. It is now among the 14 Indian elements on the ICH list.

UNESCO tweeted, “Durga puja is now inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity! 14 ICH elements from India have been inscribed on this list by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.”

PM Narendra Modi tweeted that it is a matter of great pride and joy for every Indian. He said that ‘Durga Puja highlights the best of our traditions and ethos. “Kolkata Durga Puja is an experience everyone must have,” PM Modi added. 

Durga Puja

•  Durga Puja is a major annual festival celebrated most notably in Kolkata, West Bengal, in September or October month. The ten-day festival is also celebrated in other parts of India as well among the Bengali diaspora.

•  The festival is held to worship Goddess Durga. Several months before the festival, small artisanal workshops make sculptures of Goddess Durga and her family-Lakshmi, Ganesh, Saraswati and Kartik -using unfired clay from the river bed of the Ganga River.

•  The worship of Goddess Durga begins on the inaugural day of Mahalaya, when eyes are painted on the clay scuptures to bring the goddess to life. The scuptures are immersed in the river from where the clay came from on the tenth day of the festival, also known as Vijay Dashami. 

•  The festival symbolises ‘home-coming’ or return to one’s roots. The Durga Puja is the best instance of the public display of culture and art. It serves as a thriving ground for collaborative artists and designers. 

•  The Durga Puja is celebrated by setting up of large-scale installations and pavilions in urban areas. People from all walks of life, culture and ethnicity come to admire the installations in the Durga Puja Pandal.

Significance of Durga Puja

Durga Puja is revered as the celebration of compassion, humanity, art and culture and during the festival time, the city of Kolkata is brightly lit with the decoration of colourful lights. 

About UNESCO

UNESCO full form-  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNESCO Director General- Audrey Azoulay, France    (2017–present)

UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, seeks to build peace and bring together people and nations through international cooperation in education, sciences and culture. The UNESCO’s programmes aim to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in the 2030 Agenda, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.

UNESCO was established in 1945 as a successor of the League of Nations’ International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO’s founding mission is to advance peace, sustainable development and human rights by facilitating collaboration and dialogue among nations.
UNESCO Intangible Heritage list

What is Intangible Cultural Heritage?

Intangible cultural heritage includes traditions or living expressions inherited from ancestors such as oral traditions, performing arts, rituals, social practices, festive events and knowledge and practices concerning nature, universe or traditional crafts. As per UNESCO, fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the wake of growing globalization and an understanding of the intangible heritage of different communities helps build intercultural dialogue and also encourages mutual respect for each other. 

Intangible Cultural Heritage list 2021

Al-Qudoud al-Halabiya Syrian Arab Republic
Arabic calligraphy: knowledge, skills and practices Saudi Arabia – Algeria – Bahrain – Egypt – Iraq – Jordan – Kuwait – Lebanon – Mauritania – Morocco – Oman – Palestine – Sudan – Tunisia – United Arab Emirates – Yemen
Art of Xòe dance of the Tai people in Viet Nam Viet Nam
Ceebu Jën, a culinary art of Senegal Senegal
Community festivities in Campo Maior Portugal
Congolese rumba Democratic Republic of the Congo – Congo
Dances and expressions associated with the Corpus Christi Festivity Panama
Durga Puja in Kolkata India
Dutar making craftsmanship and traditional music performing art combined with singing Turkmenistan
Falak Tajikistan
Falconry, a living human heritage United Arab Emirates – Austria – Belgium – Croatia – Czechia – France – Germany – Hungary – Ireland – Italy – Kazakhstan – Republic of Korea – Kyrgyzstan – Mongolia – Morocco – Netherlands – Pakistan – Poland – Portugal – Qatar – Saudi Arabia – Slovakia – Spain – Syrian Arab Republic
Festive cycle around the devotion and worship towards Saint John the Baptist Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Fjiri Bahrain
Gamelan Indonesia
Grand Festival of Tarija Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
Hüsn-i Hat, traditional calligraphy in Islamic art in Turkey Turkey
Inuit drum dancing and singing Denmark
Kaustinen fiddle playing and related practices and expressions Finland
L-Għana, a Maltese folksong tradition Malta
Malagasy Kabary, the Malagasy oratorical art Madagascar
Moutya Seychelles
Nora, dance drama in southern Thailand Thailand
Nordic clinker boat traditions Denmark – Finland – Iceland – Norway – Sweden
Pasillo, song and poetry Ecuador
Pottery-related values, knowledge, lore and practices of the Awajún people Peru
Songket Malaysia
Tbourida Morocco
The art of embroidery in Palestine, practices, skills, knowledge and rituals Palestine
Traditional craft skills and arts of Al-Naoor Iraq
Traditional craftsmanship of making Dumbara Ratā Kalāla Sri Lanka
Visoko multipart singing from Dolen and Satovcha, South-western Bulgaria Bulgaria





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