The Brazilian Capoeira circle, Ritual dance of the royal drum of Burundi and Pujillay and Ayarichi, music and dances of Bolivia’s Yampara culture are among eight new elements inscribed this morning on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The UNESCO Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is meeting in Paris until 28 November. The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity includes elements that help demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raise awareness about its importance.
The ritual and ceremonies of Sebeïba are practiced by two communities living in Djanet in the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Male dancers and female singers compete to represent their communities during a nine-day contest. Once selected, the male dancers stand in a ritual circle rattling their swords as the women sing traditional songs to the rhythm of the tambourine. The ritual symbolically wards off potential violence between communities by transposing it to the realm of artistic competition.
Lavash bread is a traditional thin bread that forms an integral part of Armenian cuisine. Its preparation requires great effort, coordination and special skills and strengthens family, community and social ties. Women work in groups to bake lavash, which is commonly served rolled around local cheeses, greens or meats. It plays a ritual role in weddings, where it is placed on the shoulders of newlyweds to bring fertility and prosperity. Men are also involved through making tools and building ovens.
Kelaghayi making consists of weaving, dyeing and woodblock decoration. Weavers choose thin silk threads to make square-shaped cloths. The colours of the headscarves have symbolic meanings often tied to specific social occasions, such as weddings, mourning ceremonies, daily activities and celebrations. An expression of cultural identity and religious traditions and a symbol of social cohesion, making and wearing headscarves reinforce the role of women and strengthens the cultural unity of Azerbaijani society.
Pujillay and Ayarichi, music and dances of the Yampara culture, Plurinational State of Bolivia
Pujillay and Ayarichi are complementary musical and choreographic forms of the Yampara culture. Pujillay is performed during a ritual celebrating the renewal of life and abundance brought on by the rainy season while Ayarichi is performed during the dry season at festivals dedicated to various Catholic saints. These cultural practices represent a favoured way to communicate with nature. During performances, extensive community networks are mobilized, including children who learn the associated knowledge and skills through collective games and observation.
Zmijanje embroidery, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Zmijanje embroidery is a technique practised by the women of Zmijanje villages in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Traditionally, Zmijanje embroidery is used to decorate female costumes and household items, including wedding dresses, scarves, garments and bed linen. A deep blue thread is used to embroider improvised rich, geometrical designs; the variations of the embroidered designs determine the social status of the village women. Embroidery is usually done among groups of women, who engage in needlework while singing and chatting.
Capoeira circle, Brazil
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian cultural practice, simultaneously a fight and a dance, that promotes mutual respect and social cohesion. Players form a circle at the centre of which two players engage with one another. The movements require great bodily dexterity. The other players around the circle sing, chant, clap and play percussive instruments. Capoeira circles comprise a master, counter-master and disciples. The master is the guardian of the knowledge of the circle that is learnt by other participants through observation and imitation.
Kilimi are hand-woven carpets made by the women of Chiprovtsi. The weavers use vertical handlooms to make two-sided tapestries traditionally used for floor coverings. The process of transmission occurs informally from mothers and grandmothers to daughters, often while working together on large carpets. The men of the town typically engage in wool production, processing and dyeing. The finished carpets are renowned for their composition, ornamental motifs and colour.
Ritual dance of the royal drum, Burundi
The ritual dance of the royal drum combines powerful, synchronized drumming with dancing, heroic poetry and traditional songs. The dance includes at least a dozen drums, always in an odd number, arranged around a central drum in a semicircle. Two or three drummers perform dances to the rhythm. The ritual dance is an opportunity to transmit cultural, political and social messages, and a privileged means of bringing people of diverse generations and origins together, thereby encouraging unity and social cohesion.
The Committee will continue the inscription of elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity this afternoon and tomorrow.
Journalists wishing to cover the Committee session (UNESCO, Room I, 125, avenue de Suffren, Paris) are requested to contact UNESCO’s Press Service for accreditation