Recording our intangible cultural heritage with Govt’s support

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  • Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) comprises all non-material manifestations of culture and represents the range of ‘living heritage’ of humanity. It is the most important indicator of cultural diversity.
    Myanmar is rich when it comes to both tangible as well as intangible cultural heritage. The art and architecture created by people throughout the country’s history have remained a part of our cultural heritage. Similarly, many religious beliefs, traditions, and festivals of ethnic nationals across Myanmar have been passed down as intangible cultural heritage.
    Our tangible and intangible heritage have been a matter of pride and honor for the country and the people. Beikthano, Hanlin, and Sri Khsetra, the three ancient Pyu cities, were named world heritage sites on 22 June, 2014.
    The Constitution clearly states that it is the duty and responsibility of all Myanmar nationals to preserve and maintain Myanmar’s cultural heritage.
    Such heritage is fragile and needs protection.
    Efforts for the preservation, protection, and maintenance of our cultural heritage have been conducted and led by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture.
    Laws have been enacted to protect and preserve ancient artifacts and buildings, and a new law on protection and preservation of tangible and intangible culture was enacted this year on 28 February.
    The new law has been drafted to not only protect and preserve cultural heritage sites, but also create livelihood opportunities for people in the region.
    The ministry has been looking into and recording the legends, languages, performing arts, social customs, traditions, knowledge of nature and the universe, and traditional handicrafts of all regions, and it has rediscovered and worked to preserve 312 categories within a two-year period.
    The ministry has been collecting information about the country’s ancient heritage. It has been rewarding people presenting ancient items or helping identify ancient sites.
    Meanwhile, it is important that we coordinate and work together in local groups to methodically record all ICHs across the states and regions, making the best use of technical support provided by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture.
    We need to take part in the work of uncovering and preserving our intangible cultural heritage, which involves sharing information and meeting twice a year.
    Collecting and maintaining a complete record of ICHs within our boundaries will ease and hasten the implementation of the work to preserve and develop Myanmar’s intangible cultural heritage.
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