Kolkata Durga Puja enters UNESCO’s ‘Intangible Heritage’ list

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribes Kolkata’s Durga Puja on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which is the first time in Asia, giving the Bengalis and Indians a reason to rejoice.

With a picture of Durga idol, UNESCO took to Twitter and wrote, “Durga puja in Kolkata has just been inscribed on the intangible heritage list. Congratulations India.”

“Durga Puja and it is our proud and historic moment. It is a red-letter day for us. Our congratulations to all the people of Bengal, country and the world. We convey our thanks and gratitude to UNESCO for the recognition bestowed on this great festival as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” West Bengal said in a statement.

Expressing her happiness, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took to social media and wrote, “Proud moment for Bengal! To every Bengali across the world, Durga Puja is much more than a festival, it is an emotion that unites everyone. And now, Durga Puja has been added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. We are all beaming with joy!”

It is learnt that the 16th Committee of UNESCO for safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) during its meeting on December 15 in Paris has inscribed Durga Puja in Kolkata on the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The inclusion of the Durga Puja in the intangible heritage list of humanity signifies the importance of the festival in the public life of Bengal.

Extolling the development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “A matter of great pride and joy for every Indian! Durga Puja highlights the best of our traditions and ethos. And, Kolkata’s Durga Puja is an experience everyone must have.”

This is the first festival in Asia to achieve recognition as UNESCO ICH of Humanity. Altogether 48 nominations had been submitted for inscription on the Representative List of ICH of humanity. An Evaluation Body had reviewed the nominations who made recommendations to the Committee for its decision. The Evaluation Body comprised of six ICH experts. The Committee approved the decision of the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata.

The other festivals or carnivals which have been recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity are three each in South America and Europe respectively.

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