Turkey’s Keşkek dish enters UNESCO’s list

Turkey’s Keşkek dish enters UNESCO’s list

DENPASAR, Indonesia - Agence France-Presse
Turkey’s Keşkek dish enters UNESCO’s list

Keşkek combines meat or chicken and is traditionally served in Anatolia. Hürriyet photo

A Turkish meat dish known as Keşkek, or Kashkak, has officially entered UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage List. The food joins more than 200 practices from around the world which already enjoy the U.N. seal of approval.

Keşkek combines meat or chicken with wheat or barley stew and is found in Iranian and Turkish cuisine. It is traditionally served as part of a wedding breakfast for Anatolia in Turkey, as well as wedding celebrations and religious holidays.

The list has been updated every year since 2009 and comprises “intangible heritage practices and expressions that help demonstrate the diversity of heritage and raise awareness about its importance,” UNESCO said on its website.

Following days of deliberation on Indonesia’s Bali Island, envoys added 19 new traditional practices to the prestige list. These included South Korea’s ramie-weaving technique and French horse-riding, which is credited with building “harmonious relations between humans and horses.” Tsiattista poetic dueling from Cyprus, featuring impromptu oral poetry performed with the accompaniment of violin or lute, as well as Croatia’s Nijemo Koloa – a “silent” dance of energetic, spontaneous steps performed without music – were other new entries.

The body recognized Mariachi music for delivering “values of respect for the natural heritage” of Mexico, while the spread of Fado songs through emigration reinforced “its image as a symbol of Portuguese identity.”

The list aims to boost the profile of “intangible cultural heritage” and to foster a wider respect for cultural diversity, the UNESCO website said.

While entrants may seek the prestige which comes from featuring on the Intangible Heritage list, enjoying a possible boost to national tourism as result, there is another category which aims to identify and protect those traditions which are in imminent danger of dying out.

Eleven further entries were placed in the “in need of urgent safeguarding” category, which has listed 16 endangered traditions since 2009. New additions this year featured the al-Sadu traditional form of weaving by Bedouin women in rural communities of the United Arab Emirates and the Eshuva prayer, which is performed for healing or as part of traditional ceremonies in Peru, UNESCO said on its website.

“There is an element of urgency on the items on the safeguarding list, otherwise it is feared they will disappear,” UNESCO spokesman Rasul Samadov said. Mongolian folk songs played on ancient flutes, the art of Yimakan storytelling by China’s ethnic Hezhen and Mauritania’s Moorish epic T’heydinn poems were also added as traditions to safeguard, along with an indigenous Brazilian drought ritual called Yaokwa and Vietnam’s Xoan singing, practiced in sacred places of Phu Tho province during spring.

Two traditions from Iran were also placed on the endangered list, including Naqqa-li, an old form of recounting tales in verse or prose accompanied by gestures and movements, as well as the building and sailing of Lenjes, traditional boats used in the Gulf.

The conference on Bali had primarily been funded by Indonesia, UNESCO said