New cultural practices added to the UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list in 2020

As many as 32 cultural practices have been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) list of intangible cultural heritage this year. As of now, the committee boasts of 584 traditions that feature on the list from 131 countries.

As per the reports, some of the practices that have been added this year include Singapore’s hawker centers, Finland’s sauna culture, and South Korea’s lantern lighting festival.

Referring to this, UNESCO said that the sauna culture in Finland has been an integral part of the lives of the majority of Finnish population, which can take place either in public places or homes, and involves much more than simply washing oneself. UNESCO further added that in a sauna, the Finnish people cleanse their minds and bodies, and embrace a sense of inner peace; also, there are around 3.3 million saunas in a country of 5.5 million inhabitants.

UNESCO, regarding South Korea’s lantern lighting festival, explains that it is a Buddhist tradition, which is a regular event taking place every year in the spring to celebrate Buddha’s birth. During this time, cities and towns around South Korea are decorated with colorful lanterns, and processions of people carrying homemade lanterns take over the streets.

The committee further added that this festival plays a significant role as it is a time of joy, during which social boundaries are temporarily erased and helps people to overcome the troubles of the day.


The year 2020 is special for Finland, Singapore, Malta as well as Paraguay, as they made it to the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage lists for the first time.

Some of the most significant cultural practices that made it to the list are making of glass beads in Italy and France, tree beekeeping culture in Belarus, making and eating of couscous in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania, the annual grass mowing competition in Bosnia and Herzegovina and much more.

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