21 Traditions Added to UNESCO National Intangible Cultural Heritage List

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The Greek Culture Ministry recently made an important announcement, adding 21 cherished traditions, customs, and practices to its National Intangible Cultural Heritage list. This significant step aligns with the country's commitment to UNESCO's "Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage."

Last year, the list was already enriched twice, and this time, it includes a diverse array of age-old customs, religious ceremonies, and festivities from various regions across Greece. The newly included elements of intangible cultural heritage are from Ioannina, Attica, Arta, Kozani, Drama, Thessaloniki, Larissa, Elefsina, Serres, and Naoussa, as well as the islands of Samos, Crete, Chios, Skopelos, and Aegina.

Culture Minister Lina Mendoni emphasized the significance of adding these new elements to the national index, which contributes to preserving Greece's rich collective identity. Among this year's additions are Ioannina's silversmith craft, the colourful "Fani" carnival tradition in Kozani, the heritage linked to the Aegina pistachio, the traditional wine practices of Naoussa with the renowned xinomavro grapes, the pottery practices of Heraklion in Crete, the art of embroidered bread from Varnavas in Attica, and the traditional preparation of "karambasi" essential oil on Crete.

The preservation of intangible cultural heritage is of great importance, and the list also includes customs like the traditional open-air festival on August 15 in Zagori, the exhilarating annual horse races in Doxato, Drama, the lively "kagelari" dance event in Arta, and many more.

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Karambasi essential oils, Crete. Photo source: Culture Ministry.

Lina Mendoni expressed the significance of this heritage as a profound cultural footprint of a rich and somewhat undiscovered past. She emphasized the importance of honouring and respecting these traditions as modern society finds its roots in the traditions, history, and experiences of those who came before us.

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