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Pakistan's Kalash tradition listed as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-11-30 09:27

Pakistani Kalash girls wearing traditional clothes celebrate 'Uchal' summer festival at Rumbur valley of Chitral town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, on Aug 22, 2016. [Photo/IC]

ISLAMABAD -- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has inscribed Suri Jagek, a tradition of minority Kalash tribe in Pakistan's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on the list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding.

UNESCO said on its website Thursday that the list features elements of living heritage whose viability is under threat.

Suri Jagek, which is a traditional meteorological and astronomical knowledge system of Kalash people, is based on the observation of the sun, the moon, the stars and shadows with respect to local topography.

The method is used to gauge appropriate time for sowing seeds and predict natural calamities, as well as in animal husbandry, besides being the basis of Kalash calendar.

The practice persists as an oral tradition but is declining due to the advent of digital instruments and lack of awareness of its cultural significance and benefits, UNESCO said.

The UN organization has mobilized international cooperation and assistance to strengthen the transmission of the cultural practices in agreement with the concerned communities, including the Kalash.

Pakistan's state news agency Associated Press of Pakistan said the country itself nominated Suri Jagek as its first ever independent nomination for consideration in this year's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Pakistan's permanent delegate to UNESCO Moin ul Haque termed the organization's approval of Suri Jagek a milestone towards ensuring better visibility of the country's rich folklore traditions and diverse cultural heritage.

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