2011’s traditions you never knew needed protecting | FP Passport

This doesn’t help the UN’s case for defending its relevance:

Last year, FP listed 10 of the odder entries from UNESCOs Intangible Heritage List, examples of cultural practices the body has decided merit preserving, as opposed to actual physical sites. That list included such treasures Turkeys Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival and Luxembourgs Hopping Procession of Echternach.

via 2011’s traditions you never knew needed protecting | FP Passport.


8 thoughts on “2011’s traditions you never knew needed protecting | FP Passport”

  1. While a great deal of the things the UN does are helpful, revolutionary and essential in today’s world, it can be argued that this odd cataloging is not. This article made the UN look trite and foolish, not exactly the image the UN is going for. Whoever is in charge of the advertising and public relations needs to step it up. They need to emphasize all the great, diplomatic things the UN does, instead of letting others make the UN look almost silly.

    Why aren’t articles like these more well-known?

  2. http://www.live-travel-blog.com/2009/01/15/weird-and-wacky-traditions-from-around-the-world/
    My first response to to this article was “why in the world would UNESCO decide that these merits deserves preservation. But in reality, these traditional practices may seen weird to us, but to those who practice those cultural practices, it’s not weird at all. It’s a cultural identity. There are many weird traditions around the world. In fact, if we really think about it, our family might have some tradition that others might think of as weird. But why do we do it? Because it defines us. So I believe that UNESCO is doing good by protecting these traditions. It’s protecting people tradition that they cherish and have lived with for many generations. So as weird as it is, we need to continue protecting these traditions.

    I guess we should protect LDS tradition of having average of 5 kids and marrying early as well.

  3. What is the UN going to do to “protect” traditions? Force people to keep doing them? Encourage them to? Sponsor events? This doesn’t make much sense. The nature of culture prohibits its regulation. Who will regulate culture? Anyone not of that culture is interfering. Anyone belonging to a culture already, by default, regulates and influences it.

    This article gives a little more insight on what “protecting” these traditions mean, but I’m still wondering what the experts mentioned are going to do.


    P.S. The guy who wrote the article is sadly unprofessional; show some respect to other people’s lives and histories please.

  4. As noble as the idea of protecting traditions is, I agree with nicholasdbell that “the nature of culture prohibits its regulation.” Even if the UN could successfully keep a tradition alive, how traditional would it really be if artificially sustained? Sometimes traditions change and sometimes they just die. Sometimes this is not necessarily bad because culture is defined by the people living it. It used to be part of our culture to keep slaves, but we are all (hopefully) glad that cultural period of our country is over.
    It is true, as almaseo mentioned, that UNESCO is not attempting to preserve this type of culture, but rather traditions that are cherished and likely innocuous. However, I do not see how the UN could be truly successful in totally preserving a culture without some sort of outside influence messing it all up. I guess endangered species have been brought back to abundance, so maybe I should have a little more faith. Similarly, the UN has been pretty successful at promoting the rights of indigenous peoples and that is important. However, I feel like this is something very different. If the UN is striving to establish their relevance as an international law-making body, releasing such lists may not the best approach.

    Here is a warning about attempting to preserve culture from the outside:

  5. I for one am actually a big supporter of the idea of UNESOC attempts to preserve the cultural. In a world where traditional activities have been replaced with T.V and video games and where children spend more time on texting then talking to people it is nice to see that someone sees that many of the traditions of the past unify us and by looking to these activities we can learn principles of family and community. I don’t think they are trying to force the traditions on people but rather say that these events are seen as special and important and acceptable. This leads to others, not of the culture, to maybe rethink their opinion on these activities. As we from many different cultures watch and participate in others traditional activities we ;learn more about them and gain a greater respect for them.
    In an article about a cultural center in California they say the center is, “Guided by the strong belief that the arts are the core ingredient to promote understanding among and between cultures.” http://www.independent.com/news/2011/dec/05/zaveeni-khan-marcus-director-multicultural-center-/
    We as Mormon to have many cultural activities such as pioneer day and the trek. How amazing would it be for a government organization to recognize the trek as an important tradition therefor leading to questions about what the trek involves and non-members participating in the trek and better understanding us and our history.

  6. While I support the idea of protecting cultures, I do not believe it to be the most effective use of its time or resources. The amount of time and money spent on compounding this list of activities supposedly needing protecting could very well have been spent on more pressing issues. There are plenty of indigenous peoples throughout the world who have customs and cultures that really do need protecting. Especially in nations of Latin America and Africa, these peoples are literally under attack. And while the UN does have functions to protect them as well, there is always more they can do. So leave the recognition of these “interesting” traditions to local newspapers and private agencies, and save the precious time and money of the United Nations to cultures that really need protecting.

    Here is a video of a young man describing the situation of his people and culture in Brazil and their need of help.

  7. I love and agree with the comment from Jenesis! Especially the quote that she shared from the cultural center in California. “… to promote understanding among and between cultures…” I love that! Isn’t this what we need in our world? what we want? Just by reading the article I learned about cultural traditions that I did not know they existed and it encourage me to learn more about other people, their culture and why they do what they do. It is this traditions that explain better than anything else the believes that are the foundation of cultures. I agree with UNESCO’s mission statement, especially the point that states their mission is to “encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world’s cultural and natural heritage.” (http://whc.unesco.org/en/about/)

    It may seem that UNESCO’s mission is foolish but the truth is that there are many cultural traditions that are good that are being overthrown but the modernization of our world. Just like animals are being extinct so are cultural traditions. God gave us this earth and gave us stewardship over it. We are responsible for what happens to out natural heritage as well as our cultural. We need to keep the good in everything culture and get rid of the bad. And UNESCO adds to the protection of the good of this world and this is the reason I agree with their mission and work.

  8. What this article reminds me of is countries like France who try strongly to preserve their culture. I think it’s all fine and dandy that UNESCO is attempting to preserve them; some previous commenters have questioned just how they attempt to do that. No, I don’t think UNESCO is going to force anyone to do anything; it really doesn’t have enforcement rights. Rather, I think it is there to publicize (just like this article does) so awareness is raised. In writing policies, we talk about “raising awareness” for things like trafficking, AIDS, etc. In those sessions, we focus on the necessity of getting the word out. Once word is out, then people can do with it what they will; oftentimes traditions are forgotten because no one remembers that it is important.

    Many of these articles address cultural traditions, but there is also great importance in paradigms, which form our traditions. One major we see is that of job creation vs. job searching. We’ve held onto one mentality for so long that to give it up seems hopeless. Adopting a new way of thinking? Nearly impossible. This article talks about the differences and how we can make the change.

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