39 Traditions Added to UNESCO Cultural Heritage List, From Arabic Calligraphy to Truffle Hunting

·3 min read

UNESCO added 39 traditions to its cultural heritage list in December 2021, including some from countries represented for the first time.

The traditions, which come from all over the world, were added by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, according to UNESCO. This year's decision was a landmark for Montenegro, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Denmark, the Seychelles, the Federated States of Micronesia, Timor-Leste, Iceland, and Haiti, which each had something presented for inscription on the list for the first time.

The Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists currently feature 630 elements from 140 countries.

The list now includes a range of cultural traditions from Arabic calligraphy to falconry, Danish Inuit drum dancing and singing, Maltese folksong, Haitian soup, and even truffle hunting in Italy.

In addition to the traditions that have been added, UNESCO also placed four things on its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, including nomad games, rediscovering heritage, and celebrating diversity in Kyrgyzstan; and success story of promoting traditional foods and safeguarding traditional foodways in Kenya.

In July, UNESCO also added several new additions to its World Heritage list, including Madrid's Retiro Park and the Trans-Iranian Railway. In total, there are more than 1,100 World Heritage sites around the world spread over 167 countries, a combination of cultural, natural, and mixed sites, according to the group.

These are the traditions that have been added to this year's Intangible Cultural Heritage List and the countries where they take place.

  1. 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: Falconry, a living human heritage

  2. Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen: Arabic calligraphy, knowledge, skills and practices

  3. Denmark; Finland; Iceland; Norway; Sweden: Nordic clinker boat traditions

  4. Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo: Congolese rumba

  5. Plurinational State of Bolivia: Grand Festival of Tarija

  6. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: Festive cycle around the devotion and worship towards Saint John the Baptist

  7. Ecuador: Pasillo, song and poetry

  8. Panama: Dances and expressions associated with the Corpus Christi Festivity

  9. Peru: Pottery-related values, knowledge, lore and practices of the Awajún people

  10. Malaysia: Songket

  11. Indonesia: Gamelan

  12. Thailand: Nora, dance drama in southern Thailand

  13. Viet Nam: Art of Xòe dance of the Tai people in Viet Nam

  14. India: Durga Puja in Kolkata

  15. Sri Lanka: Traditional craftsmanship of making Dumbara Ratā Kalāla

  16. Turkmenistan: Dutar making craftsmanship and traditional music performing art combined with singing

  17. Seychelles: Moutya

  18. Madagascar: Malagasy Kabary, the Malagasy oratorical art

  19. Senegal: Ceebu Jën, a culinary art of Senegal

  20. Bahrain: Fjiri

  21. Iraq: Traditional craft skills and arts of Al-Naoor

  22. Palestine: The art of embroidery in Palestine, practices, skills, knowledge and rituals

  23. Syrian Arab Republic: Al-Qudoud al-Halabiya

  24. Morocco: Tbourida

  25. Turkey: Hüsn-i Hat, traditional calligraphy in Islamic art in Turkey

  26. Finland: Kaustinen fiddle playing and related practices and expressions

  27. Denmark: Inuit drum dancing and singing

  28. Malta: L-Għana, a Maltese folksong tradition

  29. Portugal: Community festivities in Campo Maior

  30. Tajikistan: Falak

  31. Bulgaria: Visoko multipart singing from Dolen and Satovcha, South-western Bulgaria

  32. Ukraine: Ornek, a Crimean Tatar ornament and knowledge about it

  33. Belgium: Namur stilt jousting

  34. Italy: Truffle hunting and extraction in Italy, traditional knowledge and practice

  35. Netherlands: Corso culture, flower and fruit parades in the Netherlands

  36. Uzbekistan: Bakhshi art

  37. Montenegro: Cultural Heritage of Boka Navy Kotor: a festive representation of a memory and cultural identity

  38. Poland: Flower carpets tradition for Corpus Christi processions

  39. Haiti: Joumou soup

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.