Intangible Cultural Heritage: The New Protected Elements In Latin America

On November 28, UNESCO inscribed 47 new elements on the lists of cultural heritage, presented by 60 countries around the world.

Sierra Nevada Santa Marta and Rum

Photo: Alejandro Bayer Tamayo, Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Julieta Gutiérrez

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Leer en español: Patrimonio cultural inmaterial: los nuevos elementos protegidos en Latinoamérica

The concept of "cultural heritage" is no longer limited to simply talking about monuments, places, or collections of objects; Well, in recent years this concept has been greatly expanded since increasing globalization could jeopardize the maintenance of cultural diversity.

For this reason, during the last decades, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has decided to recognize as "intangible cultural heritage" the traditions or expressions inherited by our ancestors; such as rituals, knowledge, and practices related to the universe and nature, oral traditions and knowledge about traditional crafts.

Everything, with the purpose that the intangible cultural heritage of the different communities of each culture in the world contributes to the dialogue between societies and promotes respect for other ways of life and the different worldviews that exist.

This is how the 17th session of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee on Cultural Heritage met in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, for six days to include 47 cultural and ancestral traditions within the lists of intangible cultural heritage. These were grouped as follows:

  • 4 elements are included in the list of cultural heritage that requests urgent safeguarding measures.
  • 39 elements, which are now part of the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
  • 4 projects are now part of the register of good practices for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.

The New Protected Intangible Cultural Heritage In Latin America

It is fortunate to mention that within these 47 elements that are now part of the lists of intangible cultural heritage; some traditions and good practices from Colombia, Chile, Cuba, and Guatemala were also included by UNESCO.

Colombia: Ancestral Knowledge System Of The Four Indigenous Peoples Of The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

The Kogui, Wiwa, Aruhaco, and Kankuamo communities were the indigenous peoples that UNESCO recognized as intangible cultural heritage, due to their deep mandates and sacred knowledge that sustain harmony with the physical and spiritual universe. Or what they call "The Law of Origin", which is composed of multiple codes of teaching, learning, and sharing.

This was stated by the Minister of Culture, Patricia Ariza during a press conference for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Today, UNESCO recognizes the Ancestral Knowledge of the Sierra Nevada. The Ministry of Arts, Cultures, and Knowledge recognizes these four communities as teachers of nature and water. They are teaching us, their younger brothers, a new relationship of wisdom with the water, nature, the earth, and also with human beings”.

Also, President Gustavo Petro published on his Twitter account the great news of the recognition of this ancestral knowledge, as an intangible cultural heritage.

Chile: Pottery From Quinchamalí and Santa Cruz de Cuca

Quinchamalí and Santa Cruz de Cuca Pottery is an artisan technique of native tradition, which develops traditional forms of Latin America, creating artistic pieces that have the purpose of recreating the most valuable elements of rurality and the Chilean peasantry.

In addition, it is characterized by producing decorative and functional objects in black with white details, which are manufactured using centuries-old techniques. Objects such as pots, crockery, and fountains are some of the elements that are decorated with peasant landscapes and local characters.

Undoubtedly, this great recognition protects a cultural knowledge and practice transmitted for generations by the women potters of the Chillán commune in the Ñuble region.

Here is a video that delves into these beautiful practices and cultural knowledge of Chile.

Cuba: Knowledge Of The Masters Of Light Rum In Which "They Combine Science, Tradition, And Sensitivity".

During the Intergovernmental Committee, UNESCO highlighted the work of the Movement of Cuban Rum Masters, due to the sensitivity and commitment they have to the culture of said drink, in which they transmit knowledge and experiences throughout eight generations.

Cuban light rum began in 1862 in the city of Santiago de Cuba. This tradition of Cuban rum masters is built on a set of traditional knowledge and techniques, mixed with science that supports the safeguarding of the manufacturing process of Cuban light rum. These ancestral practices are carried out in aging cellars, mixing areas, and laboratories.

Guatemala: Holy Week In Guatemala

According to the candidacy document presented to UNESCO, the commemoration of Holy Week is the most significant representation of Guatemalan religiosity. As reported by the Guatemalan Vice Minister of Cultural Heritage, Mario Roberto Maldonado, the 22 departments of the country participate in this celebration, in which 50% of citizens from all sectors of society participate. According to the vice minister: it "Strengthens the sense of belonging and pride at the local and national level."

This cultural manifestation, which was included in the lists of intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO, is a religious expression in which the pavement of the streets is decorated with flowers and carpets, intertwining the Catholic faith and the ideologies of the people. prehispanic.


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