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Women’s Divers On Korea’s ‘Haenyeo’ To Be Declared UNESCO Cultural Heritage

By February 14, 2017 at 6:52 am
'Haenyeo' Sea Women In Jeju (Photo : Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The women divers on Korea's island of Jeju or what is commonly called as the "haenyeo" might be listed and declared as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This has been announced by the Cultural Heritage Administration of UNESCO.

After being evaluated by the international organization, the Korean government announced on Monday that the Evaluation Body of UNESCO has decided to list and nominate the Korean culture. With this, it raised the possibility that it will become the 19th cultural heritage in the country listed by the said organization.

As reported by Korea Portal, the Evaluation Body is very hard to dismiss and ignore; hence, there is a big chance that it will be "inscribed." The UNESCO also justified how the "haenyeo" could become a cultural heritage.

According to them, a culture should display the real colors of the cultural diversity of a certain community and it has a great value with regards to the intangible cultural heritage. With its old-ceremony for good harvest and wishing for safety, the handing down of diving knowledge through generations promotes social unity and cohesion.

Apart from the culture and tradition embedded in the island itself, it also reminds people of the significance of women playing important role in the process. The women divers also inspire communication with other communities practicing the same culture.

However, the final decision by the UNESCO will be made on the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. This will be held on November 26-December 2 in Addis Abada, Ethiopia.

Aside from the women's divers on Korea's "haenyeo", the body also evaluated 37 others in the list. Among the 37, the body recommended 18 cases to be listed and inscribed and the mentioned Korea's cultural heritage is one as per UNESCO.

This is not the first time Korea has been listed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO because it has been listed 18 times already. Last time, the royal ancestral ritual in Jongmyo shrine, the practice of making and sharing kimchi or the "gimjang", and the Gangneung Danoje festival were among the ones listed.

The women divers at the Jeju Island or "haenyeo" might be the latest cultural heritage in Korea listed by UNESCO.

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