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


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

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


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.


Belgium - France - Processional Giants and Dragons

"Traditional processions of huge effigies of giants, animals or dragons encompass an original ensemble of festive popular manifestations and ritual representations. These effigies first appeared in urban religious processions at the end of the fourteenth century in many European towns and continue to serve as emblems of identity for certain Belgian (Ath, Brussels, Dendermonde, Mechelen and Mons) and French towns (Cassel, Douai, Pézenas and Tarascon), where they remain living traditions. The giants and dragons are large-scale models measuring up to nine metres in height and weighing as much as 350 kilos. They represent mythical heroes or animals, contemporary local figures, historical, biblical or legendary characters or trades. St. George fighting the dragon is staged in Mons; Bayard, the horse from the Charlemagne legend, parades in Dendermonde; and Reuze Papa and Reuze Maman, popular family characters, parade at Cassel. The performances, often mixing secular procession and religious ceremony, vary from town to town, but always follow a precise ritual in which the giants relate to the history, legend or life of the town...." Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Postcard 1 - Belgium
A UNESCO Multiview of Dendermonde showing Procession of Giants and Dragons Festival. Thanks to An of Dendermonde, Belgium.







Postcard 2 - France
A black white vintage postcard of the Process in Cassel. Thanks to Veronique of France.






Postcard 3
Procession of Giants in Cassel, France. Thanks to Jean-Pierre from France for this maxicard.





Postcard 4
Procession in Mons, Belgium. Thanks to Lara of Belgium. Received in March 23, 2018.


Kazakhstan - Kyrgyzstan - Traditional knowledge and skills in making Kyrgyz and Kazakh yurts (Turkic nomadic dwellings)

"The yurt is a nomadic dwelling used among the Kazakh and Kyrgyz peoples. It has a wooden circular frame covered with felt and braided with ropes, and can be easily assembled and dismantled within a short period of time. The bearers of yurt-making knowledge are craftspeople, both men and women, who produce yurts and their interior decorations. Yurts are made from natural and renewable raw materials. Men and their apprentices make the wooden frames by hand, along with wooden, leather, bone and metal details. Women make the interior decorations and exterior coverings, ornamented with traditional zoomorphic, vegetative or geometric patterns. As a rule, they work in community-based groups supervised by experienced women artisans, and employ weaving, spinning, braiding, felting, embroidering, sewing and other traditional handicraft techniques. Yurt creation involves the whole community of craftspeople, and fosters common human values, constructive cooperation and creative imagination. Traditionally, knowledge and skills are transmitted within families or from teachers to apprentices. All festivities, ceremonies, births, weddings and funeral rituals are held in a yurt. As such, the yurt remains a symbol of family and traditional hospitality, fundamental to the identity of the Kazakh and Kyrgyz peoples."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Kyrgyzstan postcard showing setting up a yurta. Thanks to Wonsik of South Korea who visited Bishek, Kyrgyzstan.

Cambodia - Chapei Dang Veng

"Chapei Dang Veng is a Cambodian musical tradition closely associated with the life, customs and beliefs of the Cambodian people. It features the chapei (a type of lute often played at cultural festivals) accompanied by singing. Song lyrics range from the educational and a type of social commentary, to satire while incorporating traditional poems, folk tales or Buddhist stories. The tradition is considered to have multiple functions within Cambodian communities, such as safeguarding traditional rituals; transmitting social, cultural and religious knowledge and values; providing exposure to the old Khmer language; creating a space for social and political commentary; entertaining; connecting generations; and building social cohesion. Apart from musical talent, skills required to be a chapei player include wit, the ability to improvise and be a good storyteller. While performers are generally male, there are no gender restrictions on who can play the chapei. Transmitted orally within families and informal master-apprentice relationships, today the art form is practised by few performers and even fewer masters exist. The Khmer Rouge regime severely affected the bearer population and disrupted transmission of the practice with long-term implications as communities now face the prospect of a tradition that could potentially disappear."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

I bought this postcard showing an old man playing Chapei Dang Veng during my trip in Cambodia without knowing that it was a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. What a nice surprise.

United Arab Emirates, Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Syrian Arab Republic: Falconry, A Living Human Heritage

"Falconry is the traditional activity of keeping and training falcons and other raptors to take quarry in its natural state. Originally a way of obtaining food, falconry is today identified with camaraderie and sharing rather than subsistence. Falconry is mainly found along migration flyways and corridors, and is practised by people of all ages, men and women, amateurs and professionals. Falconers develop a strong relationship and spiritual bond with their birds, and commitment is required to breed, train, handle and fly the falcons. Falconry is transmitted from generation to generation as a cultural tradition by a variety of means, including mentoring, learning within families, or formalized training in clubs. In Mongolia, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for example, falconers take their children to the desert and train them to handle the bird and build a relationship of trust with it. While falconers come from different backgrounds, they share common values, traditions and practices such as the methods of training and caring for birds, the equipment used and the bonding between falconer and the bird, which are similar throughout the world. Falconry forms the basis of a wider cultural heritage, including traditional dress, food, songs, music, poetry and dance, all of which are sustained by the communities and clubs that practise it." 

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Collected: Austria, France, Mongolia, Qatar, UAE

Missing: Belgium, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Syria

Postcard 1 - Falconry in Austria 
Falconry with vultures at Rosenburg Castle in Austria. Thanks to Marco of Austria.







Postcard 2 - Falconry in France 
Spectacle de Fauconnerie Equestre was held in Provins. Thanks to Sylvie of France who went to see this performance and bought this postcard.






Postcard 3 - Falconry in Mongolia
A postcard of Mongolian falconry. Falconry is now listed in 2010 as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in Mongolia, France, UAE and other countries. This is my 3rd postcard sent from Mongolia. Thanks to Cliffe.







Postcard 4 - Falconry in Qatar
Falconry in Qatar. Thanks to Ashraf of Qatar.





Postcard 5A - Falconry of United Arab Emirates
Falcons are important in UAE. Falcon is seen in the UAE stamps used. Thanks to Cazz of UK for sending this card from Ras Al Khaimal, one of the seven emirates of UAE.





Postcard 5B - Falconry in UAE
Awesome postcard of falconry of UAE. Thanks to Jean-Pierre France for mailing from Sharjah, UAE.






Postcard 5C - Falconry in UAE 
Nice falcon postcard with matching falcon stamps. Thanks to Jean-Pierre of France.