Wednesday, December 04, 2013
AZERBAIJAN: UNESCO Adds Azerbaijani Horse Game To 'Intangible Heritage' List (rferl.org)
WATCH: The UN's cultural and educational organization, UNESCO, meets on December 2-7 to grant special designation to examples of intangible cultural heritage -- traditions, crafts, and rituals passed from generation to generation. Dozens of countries and communities are seeking recognition for their cultural traditions, ranging from the Azerbaijani horseback sport known as chovqan to the Korean spiced cabbage called kimchi. (Videos courtesy of UNESCO. Produced by RFE/RL's Daisy Sindelar and Margot Buff)
(rferl.org) BAKU -- The UN's cultural agency has named a traditional Azerbaijani horse-riding game a practice in need of urgent protection.
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, decided to include the game of "chovqan" on its Intangible Cultural Heritage list at a meeting in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, on December 3.
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The list comprises events from around the globe and is designed to "help demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raise awareness about its importance."
Chovqan is a form of polo once popular among Azerbaijani nomads riding short-legged Karabakh horses.
The game is played by two competing teams of five riders and is accompanied by instrumental folk music called ''janghi.''
UNESCO said the practice and transmission of chovqan have weakened due to "socio-economic factors leading to a shortage of players, trainers, and Karabakh horses."
In 2003, UNESCO passed a special convention offering protections for living, non-physical elements of culture, what it calls "intangible cultural heritage."