33 Iranian traditions, living expressions win national heritage status

January 6, 2021 - 22:37

TEHRAN – A total of 33 Iranian traditions and living expressions, passed down from generation to generation in three provinces of the country, won nation heritage status on Tuesday.

“33 traditions and living expressions, which are still practiced in the three provinces of South Khorasan, Mazandaran and Razavi Khorasan, have been registered on the intangible cultural heritage list of the country,” IRNA quoted Mostafa Purali, a senior official with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, as saying on Wednesday.

Traditional methods of designing, drawing, weaving, and dyeing of carpets; nomadic art of making Siah-Chador (“Black Tent”); and the method of cooking an indigenous flatbread were among elements inscribed for South Khorasan province, the official said.

For Mazandaran province, various methods of baking breads and cookies; traditional chorus and recitations; and the art of crafting and playing the naqqareh, which is a local drum with a rounded back and a hide head, were amongst entrees to the list.

Various mourning rituals of Nakhl Gardani, which are practiced during the lunar month of Muharram; as well as several methods of cooking local dishes, breads, and pastries were among elements made national heritage for Razavi Khorasan province.

The term ‘cultural heritage’ has changed content considerably in recent decades, partially owing to the instruments developed by UNESCO.

According to the UN cultural body, cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

While fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.

The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next.