World

Yoga, beer and rumba make UN's list of 'cultural intangibles'

A beer is served at the Belgium guild of brewers on Grand Place in Brussels, on October 23, 2015. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Belgian beer culture made the list - almost 1,500 different types are produced in the country

Unesco, the UN's culture and education arm is meeting in Ethiopia's capital to name the world's "cultural intangibles" - traditions and social practices unique to specific countries.

Unesco says cultural traditions must remain relevant to be "kept alive" and that naming them helps with that.

They also say the "cultural intangibles" list encourages traditions to be passed down to future generations.

What sort of things made the list?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some of the divers are in their 80s

On the Korean island of Jeju, female divers known as Jeju Haenyeo gather shellfish for a living. The divers can harvest for up to seven hours a day and hold their breath during their 10 metre dives. Prayers are said for safety before the dive and the tradition is passed down in families. Unesco says the practice "advances women's status in the community" and promotes sustainability.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Rumba incorporates elements of Antillean culture and Spanish flamenco

The Cuban Rumba, a music and dance combination, originally developed across the country in poor neighbourhoods and shanty towns. Unesco says the Rumba is "an expression of resistance and self-esteem while evoking grace, sensuality and joy to connect people".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The structures often provide a satirical or ironic look at local and international problems

Las Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain, marks the coming of spring. From 14-19 March, giant papier-mache structures are constructed throughout the town and on the last night of the festival the structures are set alight. The festival is accompanied by marching bands, outdoor meals and fireworks.

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Image caption Street rituals take place to encourage "peaceful communities"

Afghanistan's Nowruz festival marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar. The festival is also celebrated across Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and includes special meals and family visits.

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Image caption Tens of thousands of competitors try to catch fish during the festival

The Argungu international fishing festival in northern Nigeria brings together tens of thousands of fisherman for four days. The festival includes water competitions, canoe racing, duck catching and local wrestling and boxing competitions. Men and boys participate while women encourage competitors with song and dance.

Image copyright © UNESCO/Ahmed Abdullatif
Image caption The dance is performed by the Hijazi community

Almezmar is a traditional dance performed by Saudis from the Hijazi community for festive occasions. Some 15-100 performers dressed in white twirl long sticks, beat drums and clap to songs about love and generosity.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yoga is practiced throughout India for its physical and spiritual benefits

The ancient Indian practice of yoga has influenced Indian health, education, medicine and art. Yoga seeks to unify the mind, body and soul for a greater mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing. The practice consists of poses, controlled breathing, mediation and chanting.