According to the definition of UNESCO ‘Intangible cultural heritage’ means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.
This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.
For the purposes of this Convention, consideration will be given solely to such intangible cultural heritage as is compatible with existing international human rights instruments, as well as with the requirements of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals, and of sustainable development.
Under the UNESCO convention, two lists and a register have been created to demonstrate the diversity of ICH and raise awareness about its importance. This convention also proposes five broad ‘domains’ that attempt to group the manifestations of ICH.
- Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of intangible cultural heritage.
- Performing arts.
- Social practices, rituals and festivals.
- Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe.
- Traditional craftsmanship.
The interpretation of these domains may vary from country to country, and it is often difficult to limit the classification of ICH to a single genre or category, as cultural practices may be expressed in various ways.
The values of ICH are embedded in the practices and lifestyle of the practicing community. Education is one of the keys to transmitting these values from the past to the present, and into the future.