November 17, 2010 / 12:38 AM / 8 years ago

UNESCO deems Flamenco, French gastronomy as heritage

PARIS, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Peking Opera, Spanish Flamenco and the art of French gastronomy won places on Tuesday on UNESCO’s list of intangible world heritages to preserve.

Dancers from the National Ballet of China perform the 'Raise the Red Lantern' at the Bradesco Theatre in Sao Paulo November 10, 2010. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

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 honoured with recognition on the list.

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

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

To be recognised 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)

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