China’s Matsu Culture inscribed onto UNESCO’s intangible heritage list

mazu statue

FUZHOU, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) — Matsu worshipping, a folk custom prevalent in China’s southeastern coast, has been approved as an intangible heritage in need of urgent safeguarding by the UNESCO’s intangible heritage committee at an ongoing meeting at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Tang Bingchun, director of the Meizhou Island Management Commission who takes charge of the heritage bid, told Xinhua on the sideline of the meeting that it was China’s first belief-related custom to make the UNESCO heritage list.

He said that the inscription would aid the protection of the Matsu culture and promote its spread and a broader understanding across the world of the 1,100-year-old Chinese folk culture stemming from the fishing tradition.

With Meizhou Island widely regarded as its hometown and the mecca for nearly 200 million worshippers worldwide including those in Taiwan, Matsu, as legend has it, was a fair lady taking delight in helping her village folks, who died from rescuing survivors of marine disasters.

To commemorate her, fisher folk in the Meizhou Island deified her as the goddess of the sea and enshrined her in a temple.

Tang explained that two essential elements have led to the inscription: The culture has been passed on from generation to generation, providing communities and groups with a sense of identity and continuity; and considered to be essential for the respect of cultural diversity and creativity.

The Chinese bid was favored, he said, because it included feasible and detailed protective measures, was initiated by social organizations and had already received state-level protection from the Chinese government.

After a bidding team was launched in May 2008, more than 2,000 Taiwan pilgrims joined mainland people to pay homage at the Matsu Temple in Meizhou island this May. Across the world, there are more than 5,000 Matsu temples in 20 countries and regions.

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage chaired by Awadh Ali Saleh Al Musabi is expected to examine 12 nominations from eight State Parties of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage at the five-day meeting scheduled to close on Oct. 2,

By putting a worship on the list, the State agrees to safeguards and may receive funding, the committee said in a statement.

Source link

Please login to your facebook account before comment.