What do we mean by intangible cultural heritage?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designates as intangible cultural heritage (“Immateriellt Kulturierwen”, IKI) oral traditions and forms of expression, including language, performing arts, social customs, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices relating to nature, and crafts that people themselves consider as part of their cultural heritage. UNESCO also includes in its definition of intangible cultural heritage the places and objects, the tools and clothing people need in order to keep these traditions alive. They are handed down through the generations, and each generation reinterprets them in accordance with nature, their environment and their history.
For this reason intangible cultural heritage is often also called “living cultural heritage”: living, because the people who inherit it recognize it as such and keep it alive; living also though, because it gives them a feeling of identity and continuity.
Confined by Corona: Digital IKI
For the next few months, we won’t be able to participate in the traditional events that normally take place in Luxembourg in spring. These include the “Éimaischen” (Easter Monday crafts fair), the “Oktave” (two weeks of pilgrimages in May), the “Sprangprëssessioun” (Hopping Procession on Whit Tuesday), all three of which are listed in Luxembourg’s inventory of intangible cultural heritage – while the Hopping Procession is inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
In times of uncertainty and worry, it is especially important that traditions continue to exist. That’s why Luxembourg’s Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO is working on the digital continuity of different traditions, in cooperation with the relevant organizations.
The first traditional event to fall victim to the current confinement measures is the much loved Éimaischen crafts fair, with its famous bird whistles (“Péckvillchen”), on Easter Monday. Every year it attracts large crowds to the Fëschmaart (Marché-aux-Poissons) in the old part of town. In order to allow this popular fair to live on, it will be staged in digital form this year.
As part of this initiative, we ask you to you to share a photo of your favourite “Péckvillchen” on Instagram or Facebook on the day itself with the hashtags #MyPéckvillchen #MäinPéckvillchen #DigitalÉimaischen #DigitalIKI.
On Easter Monday, 13 April, the UNESCO Commission, together with the Ministry of Culture, the Centre national de l’audiovisuel (CNA), the City of Luxxembourg and the Comité Alstad,invite you to take part in a digital “Éimaischen”, with historical photos, films and personal impressions on Facebook, Instagram and the website of Luxembourg’s intangible cultural heritage www.iki.lu.