Armenia - Lavash

"Lavash is a traditional thin bread that forms an integral part of Armenian cuisine. Its preparation is typically undertaken by a small group of women, and requires great effort, coordination, experience and special skills. A simple dough made of wheat flour and water is kneaded and formed into balls, which are then rolled into thin layers and stretched over a special oval cushion that is then slapped against the wall of a traditional conical clay oven. After thirty seconds to a minute, the baked bread is pulled from the oven wall. Lavash is commonly served rolled around local cheeses, greens or meats, and can be preserved for up to six months. It plays a ritual role in weddings, where it is placed on the shoulders of newlyweds to bring fertility and prosperity. The group work in baking lavash strengthens family, community and social ties. Young girls usually act as aides in the process, gradually becoming more involved as they gain experience. Men are also involved through the practices of making cushions and building ovens, and pass on their skills to students and apprentices as a necessary step in preserving the vitality and viability of lavash making."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of culture in Armenia. Traditional baking in Oshakan Village, Armenia. Thanks to Jean-Pierre of France who visited Armenia in November 7, 2019 and arrived in Penang island on November 26, 2019.

Cyprus - Croatia - Spain - Greece - Italy - Morocco - Portugal - Mediterranean Diet

"The Mediterranean diet involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking, and particularly the sharing and consumption of food. Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin. It is a moment of social exchange and communication, an affirmation and renewal of family, group or community identity. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, and a way of life guided by respect for diversity. It plays a vital role in cultural spaces, festivals and celebrations, bringing together people of all ages, conditions and social classes. It includes the craftsmanship and production of traditional receptacles for the transport, preservation and consumption of food, including ceramic plates and glasses. Women play an important role in transmitting knowledge of the Mediterranean diet: they safeguard its techniques, respect seasonal rhythms and festive events, and transmit the values of the element to new generations. Markets also play a key role as spaces for cultivating and transmitting the Mediterranean diet during the daily practice of exchange, agreement and mutual respect."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage



Multi-view of Mediterranean cuisine of Algarve, Portugal. Thanks to Tiago of Portugal. Received in November 2019.

Georgia - Living culture of three writing systems of the Georgian alphabet

The evolution of Georgia’s written language has produced three alphabets – Mrgvlovani, Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli – which all remain in use today. Mrgvlovani was the first alphabet from which Nuskhuri was derived and then Mkhedruli. The alphabets coexist thanks to their different cultural and social functions, reflecting an aspect of Georgia’s diversity and identity. Their ongoing use in a cultural sense, also gives communities a feeling of continuity. The alphabets Mrgvlovani and Nuskhuri are practised and taught informally predominately by the community of the Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church. For example, the alphabets feature in texts used by church worshippers such as the psalms and hymns and on inscriptions of display items used in the church, like the icons. Traditional craftspeople (goldsmiths, embroiderers, icon-painters and sculptors) who create pieces for the church can also be considered as practitioners and transmitters of the alphabets, as well as some theological schools, tertiary institutions, linguists, scholars and historians. Georgia’s educational system, however, is based on the Mkhedruli alphabet. Taught in primary and high school, the Mkhedruli alphabet is also transmitted informally in the home from older to younger generations. The Mrgvlovani and Nuskhuri alphabets are taught in schools in Georgia but at a basic level.

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Georgian alphabets. Thanks to Shawn of New Zealand who visited Georgia. Received in June 2019.

Portugal - Craftmanship of Estremoz clay figures

"The Craftsmanship of Estremoz Clay Figures involves a production process lasting several days: the elements of the figures are assembled before being fired in an electric oven and then painted by the artisan and covered with a colourless varnish. The clay figures are dressed in the regional attires of Alentejo or the clothing of religious Christian iconography, and follow specific themes. The production of clay figures in Estremoz dates back to the seventeenth century, and the very characteristic aesthetic features of the figures make them immediately identifiable. The craft is strongly attached to the Alentejo region, since the vast majority of the figures depict natural elements, local trades and events, popular traditions and devotions. The viability and recognition of the craft are ensured through non-formal education workshops and pedagogical initiatives by the artisans, as well as by the Centre for the Appreciation and Safeguarding of the Estremoz Clay Figure. Fairs are organized at the local, national and international levels. Knowledge and skills are transmitted both in family workshops and professional contexts, and artisans teach the basics of their craft through non-formal training initiatives. Artisans are actively involved in awareness-raising activities organized in schools, museums, fairs and other events"

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Estremoz postcard. Thanks to Rui of Portugal.

India - Kumbh Mela

"Kumbh Mela (the festival of the sacred Pitcher) is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, during which participants bathe or take a dip in a sacred river. Devotees believe that by bathing in the Ganges one is freed from sins liberating her/him from the cycle of birth and death. Millions of people reach the place without any invitation. The congregation includes ascetics, saints, sadhus, aspirants-kalpavasis and visitors. The festival is held at Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik every four years by rotation and is attended by millions of people irrespective of caste, creed or gender. Its primary bearers, however, belong to akhadas and ashrams, religious organizations, or are individuals living on alms. Kumbh Mela plays a central spiritual role in the country, exerting a mesmeric influence on ordinary Indians. The event encapsulates the science of astronomy, astrology, spirituality, ritualistic traditions, and social and cultural customs and practices, making it extremely rich in knowledge. As it is held in four different cities in India, it involves different social and cultural activities, making this a culturally diverse festival. Knowledge and skills related to the tradition are transmitted through ancient religious manuscripts, oral traditions, historical travelogues and texts produced by eminent historians. However, the teacher-student relationship of the sadhus in the ashrams and akhadas remains the most important method of imparting and safeguarding knowledge and skills relating to Kumbh Mela."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Naga Baba Kumbh Festival. I bought this postcard when I was travelling in India.

Thailand - Khon, masked dance drama in Thailand

"Khon, the Khon Masked Dance Drama in Thailand, is a performing art that combines musical, vocal, literary, dance, ritual and handicraft elements. Khon performances – which involve graceful dance movements, instrumental and vocal renditions and glittering costumes – depict the glory of Rama, the hero and incarnation of the god Vishnu, who brings order and justice to the world. The many episodes depict Rama’s life, including his journey in the forest, his army of monkeys, and his fights with the army of Thosakan, king of the giants. On one level, Khon represents high art cultivated by the Siamese/Thai courts over centuries, while at another level, as a dramatic performance, it can be interpreted and enjoyed by spectators from different social backgrounds. Khon has a strong didactic function, reinforcing respect for those of a higher age and status, mutual dependence between leaders and followers, the honour of rulers and the triumph of good over evil. Traditionally, Khon was transmitted in the royal or princely courts, and in dance masters’ households. Today, however, transmission occurs mostly in educational institutions, while still adhering largely to traditional methods. Concerted efforts are made to ensure the continuity of the practice, including through the establishment of training and performance clubs that help reach out to young people."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage



I bought this Khon dance prepaid postcard with a matching printed stamp at Bangkok General Post Office in October 2018.

Malaysia - Dondang Sayang

"Dondang Sayang is a traditional Malay art still practised in Melaka by four communities: the Malay, Baba Nyonya, Chitty and Portuguese communities. The practice combines elements of music (violins, gongs and tambourines or the tambour), songs and chants, and features beautiful melodious strains of poetry. Also known as love ballads, the songs are used by communities to convey feelings of love and give advice on special topics such as love and kindness. During the Melaka Sultanate era in the fifteenth century, Dondang Sayang was performed at Royal Palace ceremonies and events; subsequently, the performance became widespread among the communities concerned. Based on tradition, Dondang Sayang performances are accompanied by music and sung by two singers of the opposite sex, who sing in quatrains. Typically, Dondang Sayang singers are individuals who are highly competent and skilled in poetry recitation. Dongdang Sayang performances are open to all, irrespective of age, occupation, status or religion, and the art is considered as a means of conveying positive messages and sharing feelings of love, joy and sorrow that strengthen community bonding. Performances are held on a regular basis, especially during gatherings, festivals and parties, and nowadays many cultural programmes, activities and training activities are organized for those interested in participating and improving their singing and performance skills."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Postcard 1
I bought this set of Straits Baba Nyonya wedding postcards in Penang.






Postcard 2






Postcard 3

Mexico - Charrería, equestrian tradition in Mexico

"Charrería is a traditional practice of livestock herding communities in Mexico. It was initially used to help herders managing livestock from different estates better coexist. Techniques were then passed on to younger generations within families. These days, purpose-built charrería associations and schools assist in continuing transmission of the tradition, also considered a sport, by training members of the community, including up to competition level. Various categories of charrería performed in front of an audience are called charreadas. Charreadas give spectators an opportunity to see livestock herding skills, for example roping and reining using wild mares and bulls. Trained herders demonstrate their abilities on foot or horseback while dressed in traditional costume that features a wide-brimmed hat for a charro (male herder) and a colourful shawl for a charra (female herder). The outfits, as well as equipment required for the practice, like saddles and spurs, are designed and produced by local artisans, forming additional components of the traditional practice. Charrería is considered an important aspect of the identity of bearer communties and their cultural heritage. Practitioners also see the tradition as a way of transferring to younger generations important social values, such as respect and equality for people in the community".

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Charreria, started as control of cattle from laborers, and is now a national sport. Thanks to Marco of Austria for mailing from Mexico with an awesome stamp used.

Uzbekistan - Palov culture and tradition

"There is a saying in Uzbekistan that guests can only leave their host’s house after palov has been offered. Palov is a traditional dish made and shared throughout rural and urban communities of Uzbekistan. It is prepared with ingredients such as rice, meat, spices and vegetables and in addition to be enjoyed as a regular meal, is served as a gesture of hospitality, to celebrate special occasions like weddings and new year, to help those in need who are underprivileged, or to honour loved ones who have passed away. Palov may also feature at events alongside other rituals taking place such as prayer and performances of traditional music. It is a dish that is cooked by men and women regardless of age or social status. Knowledge and skills associated with the practice are handed down from older to younger generations formally and informally using a master-apprentice model or by demonstration and participation within families, peer groups, community-based establishments, religious organizations and vocational educational institutions. The making and sharing of the traditional dish acts to strengthen social ties, promote values including solidarity and unity and assist in the continuity of local traditions that form a part of the community’s cultural identity."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Preparing palov or plov. Thanks to Igor of Uzbekistan.

Argentina - Uruguay - Tango

"The Argentinian and Uruguayan tradition of the Tango, now familiar around the world, was developed by the urban lower classes in Buenos Aires and Montevideo in the Rio de la Plata basin. Among this mix of European immigrants to the region, descendents of African slaves and the natives of the region known as criollos, a wide range of customs, beliefs and rituals were merged and transformed into a distinctive cultural identity...." 

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Postcard 1 - Argentina 
Argentina is famous for the Latin dance of Tango. Thanks to Argentinian sender from Patagonia, Argentina.






Postcard 2 - Uruguay
Uruguay tango. Tango la Cumparsita was first performed in 1914. Thanks to Lucas of Brazil for mailing from Uruguay.


China - The Twenty-Four Solar Terms

The Twenty-Four Solar Terms, knowledge in China of time and practices developed through observation of the sun’s annual motion:

"The ancient Chinese divided the sun’s annual circular motion into 24 segments. Each segment was called a specific ‘Solar Term’. The element of Twenty-Four Solar Terms originated in the Yellow River reaches of China. The criteria for its formulation were developed through the observation of changes of seasons, astronomy and other natural phenomena in this region and has been progressively applied nationwide. It starts from the Beginning of Spring and ends with the Greater Cold, moving in cycles. The element has been transmitted from generation to generation and used traditionally as a timeframe to direct production and daily routines. It remains of particular importance to farmers for guiding their practices. Having been integrated into the Gregorian calendar, it is used widely by communities and shared by many ethnic groups in China. Some rituals and festivities in China are closely associated with the Solar Terms for example, the First Frost Festival of the Zhuang People and the Ritual for the Beginning of Spring in Jiuhua. The terms may also be referenced in nursery rhymes, ballads and proverbs. These various functions of the element have enhanced its viability as a form of intangible cultural heritage and sustain its contribution to the community’s cultural identity. Knowledge of the element is transmitted through formal and informal means of education."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Postcard 1
Nice postcard of 小雪 Little Snow one of the 24 solar terms.  Thanks to Wulifei of China.





Postcard 2
Autumn center (Equinox) 秋分 is one of the 24 solar terms is mailed from Taiwan. Thanks to Maicy of Taiwan.


China - Chinese Calligraphy

"Chinese calligraphy has always been more than simply a tool for communication, incorporating as it does the element of artistry for which the practice is still valued in an age of ballpoint pens and computers. Indeed, calligraphy is no longer the basic tool of intellectuals and officials but has become the preserve of professional artisans and amateur enthusiasts. Whether they are recording information or simply creating beautiful forms, calligraphers’ brushes are used to ink five different styles of script, known as ‘seal’, ‘official’, ‘cursive’, ‘running’ and ‘regular’..." 

Source: UNESCO Intangible Heritage

Postcard 1
Poem of Duo Jin Lou in Runnig Script by Mi Fu, Northern Song Dynasty. I bought this postcard at the museum souvenir shop in Shanghai Museum, China in October 2010.




Postcard 2
I bought a postcard set at the Capital Museum, Beijing. This postcard shows the Chinese Calligraphy Cursive Script on Scroll by famous calligrapher Wang Duo (1592-1642) on Tang Poems.




Postcard 3
Chinese calligraphy in the cursive style on a red color Chinese Lunar New Year postcard with red paper cutting stamps. Thanks so much to Lemon of China. Shin nian kuai le.






Postcard 4
Poem in classical Chinese calligraphy. Thanks to Aoaodaibu of Shenzhen, China.