Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

[pib] Durga Puja gets UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage tag


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Intangible Cultural Heritages in India

Mains level : Not Much

UNESCO has inscribed ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

What is Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)?

  • ICH means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated with them that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as a part of their cultural heritage.
  • Furthermore, its importance is not in the cultural manifestation itself, but in the wealth of knowledge, know-how and skills that are transmitted from one generation to the next.

About Durga Puja

  • Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsava or Sharodotsava, is an annual Hindu festival that reveres and pays homage to the goddess Durga.
  • It is an important festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism.
  • It is celebrated because of Durga’s victory over Mahishasur.
  • It is particularly popular and traditionally celebrated in the Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha among other states.
  • It is a ten-day festival, of which the last five are of the most significance.

Citation for the UNESCO tag

  • The UNESCO Committee commended its initiatives to involve marginalized groups, and individuals as well as women in their participation in safeguarding the element.
  • The festival is also marked by scripture recitations, performance arts, revelry, gift-giving, family visits, feasting, and public processions.
  • Durga Puja not only is a celebration of the feminine divinity but is a consummate expression of dance, music, crafts, rituals, practices culinary and cultural aspects.
  • The festival transcends the boundaries of caste, creed and economic classes and joins the people together in its celebration.

Also read: National List for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)

Other ICH in India

  • With the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata, India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements on the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity.
  • In recent years, the ICH elements that saw inscriptions are Kumbh Mela (inscribed 2017), Yoga (inscribed 2016) among others.
  • Also, India is a SIGNATORY of the 2003 UNESCO Convention which aims for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage along with traditions and living expression.


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