The Garba dance, originally from Gujarat (India), was recognized and included in the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity of the UNESCO.
Garba is a ritual dance performed during the nine-day Navaratri festival and symbolizes devotion and vibrant cultural expression. The inscription of this dance form celebrates its cultural significance and translates the importance of preserving and promoting valuable cultural treasures for future generations. It is India’s fifteenth item on the list.
The journey to the UNESCO list
Garba’s journey to being recognized as intangible heritage of humanity is marked by its deep cultural roots and wide popularity. The decision to list Garba was taken at the 18th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in Kasane, Botswana.
This form of dance, an integral part of the fHindu Navaratri summerconsists of participants surrounding a symbolic representation of the goddess Amba, which reflects the spiritual and communal essence of the dance.
UNESCO Commendation for Garba
UNESCO recognizes Garba as a cultural tradition passed down from generation to generation in diverse environments, from bustling urban landscapes to quiet rural areas.
Recently added to the list are Dhaka’s iconic rickshaws and unique paintings, Indonesia’s Jamu wellness tradition and Thailand’s celebrated Songkran festival.
India’s cultural repertoire is represented in this list, with elements such as the Nawrouz festival, Kumbh Mela, Durga Puja of Calcutta, Ramlila and ancient Vedic chants. As of January 2022, the list includes 14 distinct elements of India, showcasing the tapestry of global cultural diversity recognized by the UNESCO.
“Garba is a celebration of life, unity and our deep-rooted traditions. Its inscription on the Intangible Heritage List shows the world the beauty of Indian culture. This honor inspires us to preserve and promote our heritage for future generations. Congratulations on this global recognition,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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