Persian New Year Re-Inscribed as UNESCO Cultural Heritage

Nowruz, the tradition of Persian New Year, was re-inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage after revisions were made to its previous inscription.

“Nowruz dossier, involving seven nations, had been registered in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in October 2009. After an incorporation proposal was made by five other nations, including Iraq, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, this file was reedited and resubmitted to UNESCO,” said Mohammad Hassan Talebian, the Deputy Head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO).

Headed by Iran, the new 12-nation Nowruz dossier was recently presented and inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage at the eleventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from November 28 to December 2, 2016.

According to Talebian, the multi-national Nowruz dossier is UNESCO’s first and most important intergovernmental file to put together related cultural domains and to establish joint cultural associations, capacity building, education and other intergovernmental activities.

Nowruz is the biggest international file inscribed in UNESCO, aiming to maintain the nature and peace in nations linked to this tradition, according to a report by ICHTO’s website, as translated by IFP.

The New Year in Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan is celebrated on March 21st known as Nauryz, Navruz, Nawrouz, Nevruz, Nooruz, Novruz, Nowrouz or Nowruz.

For two weeks, various customs take place including a special meal, family visits, public rituals and street performances to encourage peaceful communities, shared and promoted through participation.

Iran’s Other Inscriptions at UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

During the recent meeting in Addis Ababa, Iran’s periodic reports about Naqqali, Iranian dramatic story-telling, and traditional skills of building and sailing Iranian Lenj boats in the Persian Gulf, were also evaluated.

“We submit our periodic reports about measures taken to conserve these arts to UNESCO,” he said, adding that the above-mentioned files, registered in UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011, require immediate protection.

Iran’s Intangible Cultural Heritage registered in UNESCO’s list include Nowruz, the Radif of Iranian music, the traditional skills of carpet weaving in Fars, Pahlavani and Zoorkhaneh rituals, Qalishuyan rituals of Mashhad-e Ardehal in Kashan, dramatic art ritual of Ta‘ziye, the traditional skills of carpet weaving in Kashan, the music of the Bakhshis of Khorasan, the traditional skills of building and sailing Iranian Lenj boats in the southern Iran, and Naqqali, the Iranian dramatic story-telling.

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