List of Intangible Cultural Heritage elements in Northern Europe

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) intangible cultural heritage elements are components of a country's cultural heritage that are equally as important as physical cultural elements, like World Heritage Sites.[1] The elements are abstract and must be learned, encompassing traditional knowledge which includes festivals, music, performances, celebrations, handicrafts, and oral traditions.[1][1] The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which approves new inscription requests, and a definition of "intangible cultural heritage" are both established in the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, drafted in 2003,[2] and taking effect in 2006.[3]

Northern Europe comprises Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom,[4] and the following dependent territories: the Faroe Islands controlled by Denmark, the Åland Islands controlled by Finland, Svalbard and Jan Mayen controlled by Norway, and the British Crown dependencies, Guernsey and Jersey, and the Isle of Man.[4] Six intangible cultural heritage elements originate from the region. Three have been inscribed as elements of Estonia and Lithuania, two as elements of Latvia, and none for Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia share one cultural heritage element.[5]

A Kihnu church with a green roof behind a small stone wall.
A Kihnu church
Illustrations of Estonian folk costumes. One depicts a girl in a traditional Seto dress.
Depiction of a girl in traditional Seto dress, third from the left.
An audience listening to a speaker during Seto Kingdom Day.
Seto Kingdom Day in 2006.
A Lithuanian cross standing by a forest.
A cross constructed in Lithuania.

List of intangible heritage elements[edit]

The table lists information about each International Cultural Heritage element:

Name: official name, worded as inscribed on the list
Region: region within or outside a country where a heritage is still practiced
Country: country, as inscribed on the list
Year: the year the site was inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List
Session: the session and decision in which a heritage is inscribed by the committee[nb 1]
Description: brief description of the heritage
Site: official UNESCO page
Elements of Northern Europe
Name Region Country Year Session Description Site
Baltic song and dance celebrations Baltic states  Estonia
 Latvia
 Lithuania
2008 3.COM UNESCO has inscribed the folk festivals of the Baltic countries, which celebrate the region's heritage of dancing and musical performances. Three events are directly mentioned.[5] The first is the Estonian Song Festival, held once every five years.[6] The event was first held in 1869,[7] when the region was still under the control of Tsarist Russia.[8] The second, the Latvian song festival, is also held every five years, beginning in 1873.[5] The third is the Lithuanian Song and Dance Celebration, held once every four years. The festival originates in Kaunas, and was first celebrated in 1924.[9] The Baltic celebrations attract participants and visitors from around the world.[9] All three events served as a celebration of national pride, and continued, even under the rule of the Soviet Union.[5] During the fall of Communism, revolutions in the region were dubbed "Singing Revolutions", a name derived from the influence of folk festivals on the drive for independence.[8] .[5]
Kihnu cultural space Kihnu island and Manilaid island in the Baltic Sea  Estonia 2008 3.COM UNESCO has inscribed the cultural practices of the Kihnu people. This includes the sealing and fishing traditionally performed by the men, the farming traditionally performed by the women, and the musical performances, celebrations, and handicrafts of the community.[10] The Kihnu people have retained the tradition of performing runic songs, a form of song that predates Christianity.[11] Kihnu clothing, made of wool, are covered with colourful decorations, which serve as representations of the mythology of the community.[10] .[10]
Seto Leelo, Seto polyphonic singing tradition Southeastern Estonia and the Pechorsky District of Pskov Oblast, Russia  Estonia 2009 4.COM 13.38 The performance of leelo, a tradition practiced by the Seto people, has been inscribed as an intangible cultural heritage.[12] Leelo is a form of polyphonic singing performed by participants, usually women,[12] dressed in traditional clothing.[13] During the Seto Kingdom Day celebration, the winning lead singer of a leelo group is awarded the title of "Mother of Song".[12] .[12]
Suiti cultural space Western Latvia  Latvia 2009 4.COM 14.07 The culture and traditions of the Suiti people are inscribed as an intangible cultural heritage. This includes the community's festivals, celebrations, food, folk clothing, religious practices, language, and dance and musical performances.[14] Living in a region that is largely Protestant, the Suiti people are followers of Catholicism, a belief system that survived the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic era.[14] .[14]
Cross-crafting and its symbolism National  Lithuania 2008 3.COM Cross-crafting, the art of creating crosses, is a tradition in Lithuania. The practice is part of the Roman Catholic tradition in the region.[15] .[15]
Sutartinės, Lithuanian multipart songs Northeastern Lithuania  Lithuania 2010 5.COM 6.26 Sutartinės is a form of Lithuanian folk music. The polyphonic songs are performed during celebrations.[16] .[16]

Total heritage elements by country[edit]

Exclusive heritage elements are those that are inscribed as a heritage of a single country. Shared heritage elements are inscribed as elements of multiple countries.

Total elements by country
Country Exclusive elements Shared elements Ref.
 Denmark [17]
 Estonia 2 1 [18]
 Finland [19]
 Iceland [20]
 Ireland [21]
 Latvia 1 1 [22]
 Lithuania 2 1 [23]
 Norway [24]
 Sweden [25]
 United Kingdom [26]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The .COM abbreviation is used by UNESCO for committee sessions. 3.COM represents the third session of the committee, 4.COM represents the fourth session, and so on.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "What is Intangible Cultural Heritage?". UNESCO. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Text of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage". UNESCO. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "The States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)". UNESCO. 
  4. ^ a b "Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings". United Nations Statistics Division. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Baltic song and dance celebrations". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Kurm, Kairi (8 July 1991). "A new verse in the Song Festival". Baltic Times. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Tallinn, BC (6 October 2009). "Tiny Estonia tunes up for giant national-pride choir". AFP. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Mardiste, David. "Crisis can't dampen Estonia's traditional song fest". 6 July 2009. Reuters. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Juodelyte-Moliboga, Karina (4 July 2007). "Lithuania bursts into song and dance". Baltic Times. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c "Kihnu cultural space". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Jaan Ross; Ilse Lehiste (2001). The Temporal Structure of Estonian Runic Songs. Walter de Gruyter. p. 13. ISBN 978-3-11-017032-0. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Seto Leelo, Seto polyphonic singing tradition". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  13. ^ Kevin O'Connor (2006). Culture And Customs of the Baltic States. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-313-33125-1. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c "Suiti cultural space". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Cross-crafting and its symbolism". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  16. ^ a b "Sutartinės, Lithuanian multipart songs". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  17. ^ "Denmark — Information related to Intangible Cultural Heritage". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "Estonia — Information related to Intangible Cultural Heritage". Estonia. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  19. ^ "Finland — Information related to Intangible Cultural Heritage". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  20. ^ "Iceland — Information related to Intangible Cultural Heritage". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  21. ^ "Ireland— Information related to Intangible Cultural Heritage". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "Latvia — Information related to Intangible Cultural Heritage". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  23. ^ "Lithuania — Information related to Intangible Cultural Heritage". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  24. ^ "Norway — Information related to Intangible Cultural Heritage". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  25. ^ "Sweden — Information related to Intangible Cultural Heritage". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  26. ^ "United Kingdom — Information related to Intangible Cultural Heritage". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 

External links[edit]