3 Indonesian Cultures Included in the UNESCO List

As a large nation consisting of many ethnic groups, Indonesia has a variety of cultures in each region. It is not surprising that several Indonesian cultures are designated as a cultural heritage which was confirmed by the United Nation Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. So, what are the Indonesian cultures that have made it into the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage? Come on, see the list below.

1. Gamelan

Gamelan was officially designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage at the UNESCO Session of the 16th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Paris, France on December 15, 2021. Gamelan reflects three important aspects, namely material, music, and function. Gamelan is an Indonesian percussion orchestra. Gamelan is a set of traditional musical instruments made mostly of hand forged metal (bronze, brass, and iron). Gamelan is used for rituals and ceremonies of the human life cycle, mental health therapy and other purposes, for example, to improve character, develop life skills, increase learning concentration, self-confidence and motivation.

2. Saman Dance

Saman dance is part of the cultural heritage of the Gayo people of Aceh province in Sumatra. Young boys perform the Saman dance sitting or kneeling in tight rows. Each wearing a black costume embroidered with colorful Gayo motifs that symbolize nature and noble values. The movements in the Saman dance symbolize the daily life of the Gayo people and their natural environment. Saman is performed to celebrate national and religious holidays, to strengthen relations between village groups who invite each other to perform. The Saman Dance was designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2011.

3. Puppet Show

Puppet shows are renowned for the complexity of the wayang puppets and their complex musical style, this ancient form of storytelling originates from the island of Java in Indonesia. For ten centuries wayang flourished in the royal courts of Java and Bali as well as in rural areas. There are two main types of wayang, namely three-dimensional wooden puppets (wayang klitik or gol├Ęk) and flat leather puppets (shadow puppets) that are projected in front of a screen that is lit from behind. Both types are characterized by costumes, facial features and articulated body parts. Puppet stories borrow characters from original myths, Indian epics and heroes from Persian stories. The Puppet Show is played by a Dalang. Wayang managed to be crowned as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity on November 4, 2008 (originally proclaimed in 2003)

So, those are some Indonesian cultures that are included in the list of intangible cultural heritage from UNESCO. Hopefully this article can add insight to your junior high school friend, yes. As a young generation, don’t forget to continue to study and preserve the original culture of Indonesia.

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