Written by Anaisa Arora, a grade 9 student.
The Durga Puja festival has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In a meeting on Wednesday in Paris, the 16th Committee of Unesco for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) enrolled Bengal’s grandest celebration on the comprehensive list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is the first time an Asian festival has received this honour.
About Durga Puja
- Durga Puja, alternatively referred to as Durgotsava or Sharadotsav, is an annual Indian celebration wherein the goddess Durga is hailed and worshipped.
- It is a significant event in the Shaktism tradition.
- This day commemorates Durga’s triumph over Mahishasur.
- It is particularly prevalent and traditionally observed in Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand, among other Indian states.
- It’s a ten-day commemoration, with the final five days being the most important.
- Every year, 36,946 community pujas are held throughout the province. Around 2,500 of these are hosted in Kolkata. UNESCO has been encouraged to recognise the festivity by many organisations in recent years.
The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO
This prestigious list includes intangible heritage components that assist in illustrating cultural heritage heterogeneity and fostering awareness of its significance. Culture and traditions, according to UNESCO, do not end with monuments and collections of artifacts.
Narratives, theatrical arts, social customs, rites, celebratory events, knowledge and awareness about nature and the cosmos, or knowledge are all manifestations of living expressions inherited from our forefathers and passed down to our successors.
Furthermore, its true essence does not lie in the cultural embodiment itself, but in the abundance of information, technical expertise and talents carried down from generation to generation.
After the festivity was added to the list, the UN body tweeted: “Durga Puja in Kolkata has just been inscribed on the #IntangibleHeritage list. Congratulations #India,” accompanied with an image of the Goddess Durga.
The decision by the UN agency was greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “matter of great pride and joy for every Indian.”
Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, called it a proud occasion for the state.
She sent out a tweet saying:
“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, #DurgaPuja has been added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. We are all beaming with joy!”
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