Colombia will be able to increase its officially recognized contributions to the intagible heritage of world culture next month now that UNESCO has accepted its two nominations.
Popayán Holy Week and Pasto’s Carnival of Blacks and Whites will represent Colombian culture to the world.
“I am convinced that the issue of cultural heritage in this country is wholly kaleidoscopic, that is, that wherever you look you can find heritage,” said Juan Luis Isaza Londoño, Heritage director of Colombia’s Ministry of Culture.
Londoño said that the files on the two cultural events have been formally submitted, and that “later this month or in early October they will be declared as goods on the list of the cultural intagible heritage of humanity.”
Colombia already has two cultural events recognized by UNESCO: the Carnival of Barranquilla, and the cultural area of San Basilio de Palenque.
In 2003 the Carnival of Barranquilla in 2003 was declared as intangible heritage of humanity for its exceptional value; its roots in cultural tradition; its affirmation of cultural identity; its uniqueness of its testimony of living cultural tradition; and its risk of extinction, among other criteria.
That same year, the cultural area of San Basilio de Palenque, a community that has retained all of its traditions since it shook off slavery by the colonizing Spanish in Cartagena de Indias, reports news source CMI.
Furthermore, seeing as September is the month of heritage in Colombia, the Ministry of Culture will send two more nominations for UNESCO’s intangible heritage list: the normative system of the Wayuu Culture, and marimba music and traditional songs of Colombia’s south Pacific.
“The Wayuu culture is binational, and does not recognize the border between Colombia and Venezuela. It understands that ancestral territory cannot be divided by borders,” said Isaza Londoño.
“They have a very proper policy and legal agreements and through social pacts, in which a well-known, distinguished member of the community has the ‘main word’ and acts as an arbiter of goodwill; his decision is considered sacred,” he added.
Colombia also has six sites on the list of material heritage of mankind, which are the historic centers of Cartagena and Santa Cruz de Mompox; the Catia and Malpelo Islands National Parks; and the archaeological sites of San Agustin and Tierra Adentro.
According to Isaza Londoño, the concept of heritage has expanded because “every day more is included and one begins to realize the number of things that are valuable to the communities.” As director of Heritage, he plans to increase “efforts for communities who are caretakers of these assets to protect them and to pass them on from generation to generation.”