German culture gets UNESCO nod | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 17.03.2015
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German culture gets UNESCO nod

Theaters, traditional rafting, carnival, a Passion play - the German UNESCO Commission has recognized a number of cultural traditions. And they all have one thing in common - they are part of everyday living culture.

Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen, cooperative pioneer.

Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen was a cooperative pioneer in Germany. His concept has been added to the UNESCO list.

In total 27 such intangible cultural assets have been promoted to the German UNESCO Commission national heritage list - made official this week at a ceremony in Berlin. The wide range of traditions range from the Passion play of the Oberammergau, the Rhineland's legendary carnival, boy choirs in Saxony and organ making traditions to bread-making and even the Morse code. The cultural assets will now also be considered for UNESCO's representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Traditions strengthen identity

Monika Grütters, Germany's Minister of Culture, recognized the "identity significance" of intangible cultural heritage, saying that special traditions, rituals and skills are the merit of people who felt deeply rooted in their homeland.

Brunhild Kurth, president of the standing committee, stressed that the nationwide directory should promote the intangible cultural treasures of Germany and afford them their "due attention."

Mammoth task

Since 2003 UNESCO has promoted the protection, preservation and documentation of forms of culture that are passed on from generation to generation. Germany signed on to the UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013, an agreement now signed by 161 countries.

Beyond national registers, the most significant of the UNESCO directories is the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. There is also another list for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Urgent Need of Safeguarding, which aims at drawing attention to threatened forms. In total, the registers list more than 300 customs, performance arts and craft techniques.

kk/ab/jgt (KNA, DPA, AFP)

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