United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO ) has added Gujarat's traditional Garba dance to its 'Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.'
The inclusion of Garba now makes it India’s 15th inscription on the List.
India had nominated Garba for inclusion in the list. Garba is performed across Gujarat and in many other parts of the country for nine days during the festival of Navaratri . The festival is dedicated to the worship of the feminine energy or Shakti.
The inclusion was made under the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage during the 18th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on Tuesday. The meeting is taking place began in Kasane, Botswana from 5 to 9 December 2023.
Apart from ‘Garba of Gujarat,’ some of the new inscriptions include Rickshaws and Rickshaw painting in Dhaka from Bangladesh, Songkran in Thailand, traditional Thai New Year festival from Thailand, Hiragasy, a performing art of the Central Highlands of Madagascar, Junkanoo from the Bahamas, and the Procession and celebrations of Prophet Mohammed's birthday in Sudan, among others.
India now has 15 intangible cultural heritage elements on the UNESCO list. UNESCO has added Kolkata's Durga Puja to its 'Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. in 2021. Other Indian entries that were previously inscribed include Ramlila (2008), Yoga (2016) and Kumbh Mela (2017).
In 2017, the Kumbh Mela was accorded this recognition. Yoga was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2016, traditional brass and copper craft of Punjab in 2014, Manipur's Sankirtana ritual singing in 2013 and the dance forms of Chhau, Kalbelia and Mudiyettu in 2010.