An intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is a practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill considered by UNESCO to be part of a place's cultural heritage. Buildings, historic places, monuments, and artifacts are cultural property. Intangible heritage consists of nonphysical intellectual wealth, such as folklore, customs, beliefs, traditions, knowledge, and language. Intangible cultural heritage is considered by the Member States in relation to the tangible World Heritage focusing on intangible aspects of culture.
Pakistan’s Intangible Cultural Heritage
Falconry, a living human heritage Inscribed in 2021 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Falconry is the traditional art and practice of training and flying falcons (and sometimes eagles, hawks, buzzards and other birds of prey). It has been practiced for over 4000 years. The practice of falconry in early and medieval periods of history is documented in many parts of the world. Originally a means of obtaining food, falconry has acquired other values over time and has been integrated into communities as a social and recreational practice and as a way of connecting with nature. Today, falconry is practiced by people of all ages in many countries. As an important cultural symbol in many of those countries, it is transmitted from generation to generation through a variety of means, including through mentoring, within families or in training clubs. The modern practice of falconry focuses on safeguarding falcons, quarries and habitats, as well as the practice itself. And while falconers come from different backgrounds, they share universal values, traditions and practices, including the methods of breeding, training and caring for birds, the equipment used and the bonds between the falconer and the bird. The falconry community includes supporting entities such as falcon hospitals, breeding centers, conservation agencies and traditional equipment makers.
Suri Jagek (observing the sun) is, traditional meteorological and astronomical practice based on the observation of the sun, moon and stars in reference to the local topography Inscribed in 2018 on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding
Suri Jagek, literally translated as ‘observing the sun, is the traditional Kalasha meteorological and astronomical knowledge system and practice – enacted predominantly in the Hindu Kush mountain range – based on the observation of the sun, moon, stars and shadows with respect to the local topography. The system is a complex structure of empirically observed knowledge and is repeatedly referenced to allow the Kalasha people to predict the appropriate time for sowing seeds, animal husbandry and natural calamities. It is also used to govern the Kalasha calendar by determining the dates of important social events, festivals, feasts and religious ceremonies. The practice demonstrates the relationship of the Kalasha people with their surroundings and the importance of their immediate geographical context to sustain their way of life. The viability and transmission of the knowledge system rest on an innovative transfer of information through folk stories, songs, proverbs and rhetoric and certain aspects of it – such as the study of shadows and its use in rearing cattle and livestock – are being recreated to fit into modern society. However, with the advent of the digital age, people are increasingly opting for more technologically ‘advanced’ means of predicting weather conditions. While the practice remains visible as an oral tradition, there is currently a lack of awareness among the younger generation about its cultural significance and benefits.
Nawrouz, Novruz, Nowrouz, Nowrouz, Nawrouz, Nauryz, Nooruz, Nowruz, Navruz, Nevruz, Nowruz, Navruz Inscribed in 2016 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
New Year is often a time when people wish for prosperity and new beginnings. March 21 marks the start of the year in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It is referred to as Nauryz, Navruz, Nawrouz, Nevruz, Nooruz, Novruz, Nowrouz or Nowruz meaning ‘new day’ when a variety of rituals, ceremonies and other cultural events take place for a period of about two weeks. An important tradition practised during this time is the gathering around ‘the Table’, decorated with objects that symbolize purity, brightness, livelihood and wealth, to enjoy a special meal with loved ones. New clothes are worn and visits made to relatives, particularly the elderly and neighbours. Gifts are exchanged, especially for children, featuring objects made by artisans. There are also street performances of music and dance, public rituals involving water and fire, traditional sports and the making of handicrafts. These practices support cultural diversity and tolerance and contribute to building community solidarity and peace. They are transmitted from older to younger generations through observation and participation.