Have you ever heard of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity? I only came across this recently while browsing the web. It is what it says on the tin: a list of cultural things which you can't lock up in a museum or save on your i-pad but things which are wonderfully old and traditional and should be carefully preserved.
Next time you are at a dull dinner party or any social gathering or even that wonderful coffee break at a meeting, you can trot out a few facts that no one else would be crazy enough to know (well, most people wouldn't know unless directly involved and I suppose it has more to do with being interested in our human heritage than being crazy). Want to learn about some of the things on the list? I'll be brief, so you'll just have time for one cup of coffee.
The hopping dance in Echternach, Luxembourg is held every year on Whit Tuesday in honour of Saint Willibrord, the so-called Apostle of Benelux who reportedly converted the Benelux countries and Germany to christianity. It is a simple dance solemnly performed by children and old persons alike and attracts thousands of tourists each year. The performers hop first on one foot, then the other. Spectators are asked to show respect for the procession as it moves through the town. No one knows exactly when it started but it continues unabated every year.
The Silbo Gomero is the whistled language of the island of Gomera and is used to communicate across the deep ravines and gullies which are to be found all over the Spanish island. I would love to hear this, I must admit, and have already researched a trip to Gomera.
The Space of Gong culture in the central highlands of Vietnam. This has all the mystery of the Far East and begs to be further explored.
Finished your coffee? I hope I roused a tiny bit of interest. Just imagine that somewhere in our world people are putting forward these intangible cultural ceremonies to be preserved for posterity. Kind of gives you goose pimples, doesn't it? Have a nice day!