Intangible Heritage: Jamaican reggae, Georgian wrestling and Irish hurling, inscribed on Representative List alongside Jordanian, Kazakh and Japanese rituals

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, meeting in Mauritius until 1 December, inscribed six elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Representative List seeks to enhance visibility for the traditions and know-how of communities without recognizing standards of excellence or exclusivity.


The newly inscribed elements are:

Georgia—Chidaoba, wrestling in Georgia—Combining elements of wrestling, music, dance and special garments, Chidaoba (wrestling) is an ancient martial art, now a spectacular sport practised in villages and communities throughout Georgia. The practice is based on a chivalric code of conduct, with vibrant music enhancing the dynamics of the contest. What distinguishes Chidaoba from other martial arts is the use of specific wrestling holds, the combination of which speaks to the wrestlers’ creativity, and the practice plays a key role in encouraging a healthy lifestyle.


Ireland—Hurling—Hurling is a field game played by two teams using a wooden stick (hurley) to strike a small ball (sliotar) between the opposing team’s goalposts. Unregulated in the past, adult teams nowadays number 15 players playing on a clearly marked pitch. The skills involved are transmitted through coaching and games and the Gaelic Athletic Association and Camogie Association play a key role in transmitting the values and skills of hurling.


Jamaica—Reggae music of Jamaica—Originating within the cultural space of marginalized groups, mainly in Western Kingston, the Reggae Music of Jamaica combines musical influences from earlier Jamaican forms as well as Caribbean, North American and Latin strains. Its basic functions as a vehicle of social commentary, as a cathartic experience, and means of praising God remain unchanged, and the music continues to provide a voice for all. Students are taught how to play it from an early age, and festivals and concerts are central to ensuring its viability.


Japan—Raiho-shin, ritual visits of deities in masks and costumes—Raiho-shin rituals take place annually in different parts of Japan, on days marking the beginning of the year or a change in season. The rituals stem from folk beliefs that deities (the Raiho-shin) visit communities and usher in the new year or season. During the rituals, local people dressed in outlandish costumes visit houses, admonishing laziness and teaching children good behaviour. The head of the household then treats the deities to a special meal although in some communities the rituals take place in the streets.


Jordan—As-Samer in Jordan—As-Samer consists mainly of dancing and singing, most commonly performed during marriage ceremonies. During the performance, the father of the groom instructs attendees to line up and start applauding and singing. One of the dancers then calls for Al-Hashi (a veiled woman), who dances in front of the row until someone holds her back. She later resumes her movements and the dancers perform what is called ‘Sahja’, with Al-Hashi dancing between the rows. The poetry chanted during the performance expresses feelings of joy, peace and empathy, and attendees of all ages are encouraged to take part.


Kazakhstan—Traditional spring festive rites of the Kazakh horse breeders—Traditional festive rites of spring of the Kazakh horse breeders mark the end of the old, and the beginning of the new, yearly horse-breeding cycle. Preceded by year-long celebrations, the rites have three main constituents: Biye baylau, the ancient first milking rite; Ayghyr kosu, a rite for adjoining stallions in herds; and Kymyz muryndyk, the first sharing of koumis, a drink of fermented mare’s milk. Faced with the transition from nomadic to sedantry life in the 20th century, bearers have adapted traditional horse breeding to present-day conditions.


Inscriptions are expected to continue on the afternoon of 29 November.



Elements inscribed earlier in the current Committee session:


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Lucía Iglesias Kuntz, UNESCO Media Services,, +33(0)680240729



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