UNESCO deems Flamenco, French gastronomy as heritage

Slideshow ( 5 images )

PARIS (Reuters) - Peking Opera, Spanish Flamenco and the art of French gastronomy won places Tuesday on UNESCO’s list of intangible world heritages to preserve.

The U.N. culture and education agency deemed the traditions and 43 others from a total of 11 countries worthy of recognition on the list at a meeting in Nairobi.

Among the more obscure traditions, Luxembourg won recognition for a centuries-old annual hopping procession in the eastern border village of Echternach.

The blade-twirling of a scissor-dancing ritual in Peru’s Chanka region, which has roots going back to the 16th century, was also nominated as was Turkey’s 648-year-old Kirkpinar festival of dozens of men wrestling in cooking oil.

Nominations not only included festivals and rituals but also arts such as the Chinese traditional medicine of acupuncture.

Traditional Mexican cuisine and the loosely defined Mediterranean diet, consisting of growing and consuming olive oil, cereals, fresh or dried fruit and vegetables, were also honored with recognition on the list.

Better known for its work protecting world monuments and natural wonders, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization started the list in 2003 to preserve art forms and other traditions in the face of globalization.

The aim is to recognize elements of living heritage, such as language, in a bid to protect cultural diversity and foster a sense of community.

To be recognized on the list, traditions must be deemed to spread knowledge of intangible cultural heritage and protective measures must be taken to promote them.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Charles Dick