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Monday, November 15, 2010 (read 1136 times)

Spain defends Flamenco as a UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Humanity

by Kimberly

A UNESCO intergovernmental committee is convening for the first time in Sub-Saharan Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) from the November 15-19, 2010. Their objective is to evaluate the 51 elements of intangible cultural heritage and determine which proposals need urgent safeguarding and therefore should be added to the list of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

This intergovernmental committee, made up of 24 nations: Albania, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, China, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Grenada, Indonesia, Iran Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Paraguay, Republic of Korea, Spain and Venezuela, will decide which of the 51 cultural finalists from 33 different countries should be declared as UNESCO Intangible Heritages of Humanity.

Spain is presenting and defending 5 proposals to be included as 2011 Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity:

  • Flamenco
  • Catalan castells: Human towers built traditionally in festivals throughout Catalonia.
  • The Song of the Sibyl: (El Canto de la Sibila) liturgical drama and Gregorian chant describing the prophecy of the Apocalypse performed in some churches of Majorca (Spain) on Christmas Eve.
  • The Mediterranean Diet: (Joint Proposal: Spain - Greece - Italy - Morocco)
  • Falconry/Hawking (Cetrería): a sport in which trained birds of prey are used to hunt game for humans. (Joint Proposal: United Arab Emirates - Belgium - Czech Republic - France - Republic of Korea - Mongolia - Morocco - Qatar -Saudi Arabia - Spain - Syrian Arab Republic)

Other proposals to be considered for inclusion on UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list include:

  • France: French compagnonnage, a network for on-the-job transmission of knowledge and identities.
  • France: French multicourse gastronomy
  • China: Acupuncture and moxibustion in traditional Chinese medicine
  • China: Peking opera
  • Columbia:  Marimba music and traditional chants from Colombia's South Pacific region.
  • Iran: Traditional skills of carpet weaving in Kashan
  • Mexico: Traditional Mexican cuisine
  • Mongolia: Naadam, a traditional festival
  • Peru: the Scissors dance
  • Turkey: Kirkpinar oil wrestling festival

The UNESCO list of Intangible Heritages replaced the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity list. The purpose is to promote and safeguard fragile, ethereal or endangered intangible heritages of humanity.

Yesterday the Spanish Minister of Culture, Ángeles González-Sinde, said that flamenco needs the protection that will be granted by the Intangible Cultural Heritage recognition. The distinction given by UNESCO is crucial, stated Sinde, the head of culture, because flamenco as an art form did not always flourish and thrive in Spain as it does today. In the 70s, during the dictatorship, it was reduced to a marginal part of society.

The head of the Andalusia PP political party, Javier Arenas, also assured that "flamenco should go from an everyday reality to an officially recognized reality" and assured that they would fight for UNESCO's recognition.

In addition to intangible sites, UNESCO also defends physical sites and monuments. Check out Spain and Latin America'sWorld Heritage sites.

Keywords: spain,flamenco,unesco,heritage,humanity


1 » Anonymous

the name isn't "castellets", the correct name is "castells" (the activity) or "castellers" (persons who make castles)

2 » Kimberly

Hello! Thanks for the correction, you will see it has been corrected in the article. We encourage our readers to send us any comments or suggestions they have. Nice to hear from you!


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