Cultural Traditions to Celebrate
Newsweek|January 28 - February 04, 2022
Each year, UNESCO compiles traditions, knowledge, skills and art from communities across the globe, in a list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage.” The chosen items are not historical monuments or artifacts, but rather “living expressions inherited from our ancestors.” In a time of rapid globalization, the list serves to recognize and celebrate cultural diversity and highlights how traditional ways of life interact with the contemporary world. From the navigation skills of Micronesian wayfarers to a thousand-year pottery tradition carried by women in northern Peru, here’s a snapshot of this year’s list.
By Meghan Gunn, Photography by Creativ Studio Heinemann/Getty; Montira Areepongthum/Getty; Robby Klein/Contour/Getty

Truffle Hunting

ITALY Truffle hunters have been a part of Italy's rural communities for hundreds of years, known for their unique skill set and knowledge of the natural world, passed down through oral tradition and fables. Locating truffles is a difficult feat in itself (specialized dogs help with the job), but safely removing the fungus from the soil is a different challenge altogether, requiring deep knowledge of climate and soil conditions to preserve the mushroom's environment.

Nora Dance Drama

THAILAND A form of dance more than 500 years old, Nora is steeped in acrobatic movements and fast music. Nora performers tell stories of the Buddha, along with local legends of cultural importance. The costuming is incredibly ornate, complete with brightly colored headdresses; long, curling fake nails; and beaded wares.

Awajún People’s Pottery Practices

PERU For the last thousand years, pottery has been a way for the Awajún people to connect with nature through intricate designs that mimic natural patterns, and for women specifically to express themselves through art. Women elders, the Dukúg wise women, teach their skills to the younger generations, while instilling the culture’s values.

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