UNESCO inscribes ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

What is the news?

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has inscribed ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

With the inscription of Durga Puja, India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements on the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity.

Must Read: UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
What is the Durga Puja Festival?

Durga Puja is an annual festival celebrated in September or October, most notably in Kolkata, West Bengal.

The festival marks the ten-day worship of the Hindu mother-goddess Durga. 

In the months preceding the festival, small artisanal workshops sculpt images of Durga using unfired clay pulled from the Ganga River. 

The worship of the goddess then begins on the inaugural day of Mahalaya when eyes are painted onto the clay images to bring the goddess to life. 

It ends on the tenth day, when the images are immersed in the river from where the clay came. Thus, the festival has also come to signify ‘home-coming’ or a seasonal return to one’s roots. 

The festival is also characterized by large-scale installations of Goddess Durga in ‘pandals’ and pavilions where people get together. Folk music, culinary, craft and performing arts traditions are also part of the celebration.

What is the significance of Durga Puja festival?

Durga Puja is seen as the best instance of the public performance of religion and art, and as a thriving ground for collaborative artists and designers. 

During the festival, the divisions of class, religion and ethnicities also collapse as crowds of spectators walk around to admire the installations.

Source: This post is based on the articleUNESCO inscribes ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanitypublished in PIB on 15th Dec,2021.

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