52 elements included in the National Inventory of Living Heritage
The Ministry of Education and Culture has decided to enter 52 elements in the National Inventory of Living Heritage. The National Inventory will be supplemented at regular intervals, and it will be opened for new proposals in 2019 at the earliest. It is later possible for the elements listed in the National Inventory of Living Heritage to be nominated for inscription on UNESCO’s international lists of intangible cultural heritage.
UNESCO domains of intangible cultural heritage are represented in the National Inventory of Living Heritage: performing arts; music and dance; oral traditions and expressions; social practices, rituals and festive events; food tradition; traditional craftsmanship; games and playing; and knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe.
Finnish rituals and festive events included in the National Inventory are visiting cemeteries and placing candles on graves on Christmas Eve, Declaration of Christmas Peace in Turku, the conferment ceremony for Master’s graduates, Easter bonfires and children’s Easter tradition virpominen, and sauna bathing. Other elements entered in the National Inventory include Kaustinen folk fiddling style, open-air dance and the Finnish tango as well as minuet and purppuri dances, stinginess of people in Laihia, runosong, rag rug weaving, the Korsnäs sweater, the Eura pretzels and the traditional rye and fish pastry kalakukko from Savo, the throwing game mölkky, the Finnish skittles kyykkä, the Finnish baseball pesäpallo, playing the Finnish whist-bridge Skruuvi, wandering around, everyman’s rights, and the rapids fishing culture in Tornionjokilaakso.
UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2003. Finland signed the convention in 2013. The National Board of Antiquities is responsible for the implementation of the Convention in Finland in cooperation with an expert group on intangible cultural heritage and circles of living heritage.
The objective of the Convention is to promote the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, ensure respect for the intangible cultural heritage of communities, groups, and individuals, and raise awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage. The Convention emphasises the transmission of traditions, the importance of cultural diversity, and people's participation in the management of cultural heritage.
One of the measures for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage under the Convention is inventorying of intangible cultural heritage on the national and international level. Inventorying is a tool for identifying, describing and transmitting information on living heritage. Living heritage covers both wide-spread traditions and local customs of small groups.
The National Inventory of Living Heritage was compiled based on the proposals put forward by the National Board of Antiquities and the expert group on intangible cultural heritage. The proposals have also been assessed by actors in different fields. The significance of intangible cultural heritage and the fact that heritage lives and transforms, have been important features when elements were proposed to the National Inventory. The Inventory includes very different Finnish phenomena: some of them are widely known while others are practiced only by a small community.
Proposals for elements that should be included in the National Inventory of Living Heritage were collected last spring. It is possible for the elements included in the National Inventory to be later nominated for inscription on UNESCO’s international lists of intangible cultural heritage.
The next opportunity to propose new elements to the National Inventory will be in 2019 at the earliest. Proposals for the Wiki-inventory for Living Heritage can be submitted continuously.
Mirva Mattila, Senior Officer, Ministry of Education and Culture, mirva.mattila(at)minedu.fi, tel. +358 (0) 295 33 0269
Leena Marsio, Coordinator of Intangible Heritage, the National Board of Antiquities, leena.marsio(at)museovirasto.fi, tel. +358 (0)295 33 6017
- Wiki-inventory for Living Heritage
- Information on the implementation of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Finland
- The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity; The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding