Brewing turkish coffee is on Unesco's official list.
Brewing turkish coffee is on Unesco's official list.


Turkish Coffee and other cultures and traditions on official Unesco list

Here are 5 of the world’s 352 examples of intangible cultural heritage that appear on the official Unesco list. To date, no Scandinavian countries are represented.


Sand drawings

The small south Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has a tradition that, following the cyclone disaster that occurred in March this year, has probably become even more worthy of protection: making looping graphic patterns in sand or clay. The drawings are both works of art and a way of communicating between the some 80 or so different language groups that populate the islands. The complex patterns also act as an aide-memoir to verbally pass on stories to younger generations.


Coffee culture

Brewing a cup of real Turkish coffee requires knowledge and experience. First, the freshly-roasted beans are ground into a fine powder before being mixed with cold water and sugar. The resulting brew is then allowed to slowly boil so that the desired foam is produced. The pattern formed by the grounds that remain in the cup after the coffee has been drunk is often used to predict the future of the drinker.


Shrimping by horse

Twelve families in the small town of Oostduinkerke on the Belgian west coast are responsible for keeping this old tradition alive. Twice a week, they ride out into the waves on draft horses, pulling a funnel-shaped net behind, a process that requires a considerable amount of skill. The shrimps are collected in baskets that hang on the sides of the horses before being boiled and eaten. The town’s shrimp festival, held in June every year, attracts thousands of tourists.


The gastronomic meal

It’s no surprise that the French have laid claim to cultural heritage that represents “community, enjoyment and the connection between people and raw materials”. According to Unesco’s criteria, a French celebratory meal must begin with an aperitif and end with a liqueur, bookending an entree, a main course featuring fish or meat, cheeses and a dessert. The tradition also requires that the table must be beautifully set, that specially selected wines are served and that guests communally enjoy the tastes and scents of the delicacies on offer at the table.



In Niger, good-natured teasing is a way in which certain ethnic groups that share a common language socialize. Old family ties and loyalties dictate that group members should love each other, be honest, resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner, share assets – and joke. Funny gibes can be made both during informal meetings in the marketplace and at special ceremonies. Joking is one way of promoting equality and dialog between different groups and generations.

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