South Korea - Namsadang Nori

Two nice maxicards of Namsadong Nori sent by Park of Hwaseong, South Korea. Namsadang Nori is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Maxicard 1

Maxicard 2

Belize - Guatemala - Honduras - Nicaragua - Language, Dance and Music of the Garifuna

"A population of mixed origin incorporating cultural elements of indigenous Caribbean and African groups, the Garifuna settled along the Atlantic coast of Central America after being forced to flee from the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent in the eighteenth century. Today, Garifuna communities mainly live in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize... " Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Postcard 1 - Honduras
Honduras - Garifuna Dancers. Thanks to Marco.

Postcard 2 - Belize
Joncunu (John Canoe) dancing are performed during Christmas season to mimic white slave owners and their behavior. Thanks to Melanie for this colorful postcard from Belize.

Postcard 3 - Guatemala
Garifuna music at Livingston, Izabal in Guatemala. Thanks to Marco of Austria who got this postcard from Guatemala and mailed this postcard from Austria.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania - The Baltic Song and Dance

"Both a repository and a showcase for the region’s tradition of performing folk art, this cultural expression culminates in large-scale festivals every fifth year in Estonia and Latvia and every fourth year in Lithuania.These grand events, held over several days, assemble as many as 40,000 singers and dancers. For the most part, the participants belong to amateur choirs and dance groups.Their repertories reflect the wide range of musical traditions in the Baltic States, from the most ancient folk songs to contemporary compositions. Directed by professional choir conductors, bandleaders and dance instructors, many singers and dancers practise throughout the year in community centres and local cultural institutions..." 

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Postcard 1 - Lithuania
Lithuanian National Song and Dance Festival. Thanks to Lina of Lithuania.

Postcard 2A - Estonia
Song Festival Grounds at Tallinn, Estonia. Nice Year of Rabbit stamp used. Thanks to Heidi of Estonia.

Postcard 2B - Estonia
Lauluvatjak - National Song Festival Grounds. Thanks to Marco of Austria for mailing from Tallin, Estonia.

Postcard 3 - Latvia
Latvian National Song and Dance Festival. It is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Thanks to Marco of Austria for mailing from Riga, Latvia.

Lithuania - Cross-crafting and its Symbolism

"Cross-crafting refers to a widespread tradition of making crosses and altars, as well as the consecration of these crosses and the rituals associated with them. The carved oak crosses are linked to Catholic ceremonies and harvest celebrations...." 

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Postcard 1

Postcard 2
The Hill of Crosses. Thanks to Lidijia of Lithuania.

China - Chinese Paper-Cut

"Present throughout China and in various ethnic groups, paper-cut is a popular art integral to everyday lives. A predominantly female pursuit, it is transmitted from mother to daughter over a long period of time, beginning in childhood, and is particularly common in rural areas. It earns the most skilful artists respect and admiration. Many techniques are used: the paper can be cut or engraved with a chisel, coloured or left blank. Increasingly, modern technologies are used.." Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Postcard 1
Eight Horses Chinese Paper Cut. Thanks to Liang of China.

Postcard 2
Postcard showing a paper cut of "The Monkey Eats the Peach", Yan'an, Shan'xi 25cm x 18.5cm. Thanks to Huiyi of China.

Spain - Patum of Berga

"The Patum of Berga is a popular festival whose origin can be traced to medieval festivities and parades accompanying the celebration of Corpus Christi. Theatrical performances and parades of a variety of effigies animate the streets of this Catalan town located north of Barcelona. The celebration takes place every year during the week of Corpus Christi, between late May and late June. An extraordinary meeting of the municipal council, the appearance of the Tabal (a large and emblematic festival drum presiding over the festivities) and the Quatre Fuets announce the festivities. Over the following days numerous celebrations take place, most important of which are the parades, the ceremonial Patum, the children’s Patum and the full Patum. The Taba (tambourine), Cavallets (papier mâché horses), Maces (demons wielding maces and whips), Guites (mule dragons), the eagle, giant-headed dwarves, Plens (fire demons) and giants dressed as Saracens parade in succession, performing acrobatic tricks, lighting fireworks and spreading music among the joyous audience. All of these characters join to perform the final dance, the Tirabol. The Patum of Berga, which has preserved its mix of profane and religious features through centuries, stands out from the region’s other festivals that have come down from the Middle Ages owing to its richness and diversity, the preservation of its medieval street theatre and its ritual component. Although the survival of the celebration seems ensured, it is to be taken care of that strong urban and tourist development do not lead to a loss of value of the Patum."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage
Els Pens of La Patum, Berga. A festival of fire, dances and music. Thanks to Josep and Asummta of Spain.

India - Yoga

"The philosophy behind the ancient Indian practice of yoga has influenced various aspects of how society in India functions, whether it be in relation to areas such as health and medicine or education and the arts. Based on unifying the mind with the body and soul to allow for greater mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing, the values of yoga form a major part of the community’s ethos. Yoga consists of a series of poses, meditation, controlled breathing, word chanting and other techniques designed to help individuals build self-realization, ease any suffering they may be experiencing and allow for a state of liberation. It is practised by the young and old without discriminating against gender, class or religion and has also become popular in other parts of the world. Traditionally, yoga was transmitted using the Guru-Shishya model (master-pupil) with yoga gurus as the main custodians of associated knowledge and skills. Nowadays, yoga ashrams or hermitages provide enthusiasts with additional opportunities to learn about the traditional practice, as well as schools, universities, community centres and social media. Ancient manuscripts and scriptures are also used in the teaching and practice of yoga, and a vast range of modern literature on the subject available."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Chakrasana or the wheel pose is a backward bending yoga asana with matching yoga stamps. Thanks to Piyali of India.

France - Craftsmanship of Alençon needle lace-making

"The technique of ''point d’Alençon'' is a rare technique of needle lace-making, practised in the town of Alençon in Normandy in north-west France. Alençon needle lace is unusual because of the high level of craftsmanship required and the very long time that it takes to produce (seven hours per square centimetre). The pieces of openwork textile using the technique are used for decorative purposes in civil and religious life. The piece is made up of design elements held together by a finely stitched net. Its process comprises a number of successive stages: drawing and pricking of the design on parchment, creating the outline of the design and the background netting, then the typical stitching of the patterns, shading with filling stitches, decorating with designs, and embroidering to create relief. Then the lace is removed from the parchment with a razor blade; trimmed and, finally, the filling stitches are polished with a lobster claw. Each Alençon lace-maker knows how to complete all the stages of the process – knowledge that can only be transmitted through a practical apprenticeship. To fully master Alençon needle lace-making requires seven to ten years of training. The learning method relies on a close relationship between the specialized lace-maker and the apprentice, and is exclusively based on oral transmission and practical teaching."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Museum postcard showing the craftsmanship of Alençon needle lace-making. Thanks to Jean-Pierre of France.

Cambodia - The Royal Ballet of Cambodia

"Renowned for its graceful hand gestures and stunning costumes, the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, also known as Khmer Classical Dance, has been closely associated with the Khmer court for over one thousand years. Performances would traditionally accompany royal ceremonies and observances such as coronations, marriages, funerals or Khmer holidays. This art form, which narrowly escaped annihilation in the 1970s, is cherished by many Cambodians..." Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Postcard 1
Aspara Dance or the Royal Ballet of Cambodia which survived the Pol Pot Regime. Thanks to Titan of Cambodia. When I visited Siem Reap Post Office on March 13, 2017, I got this postcard cancelled with a Cambodia stamp that I bought in Poipet Post Office.

Postcard 2
I bought this postcard in Siem Reap in March 2017.

Postcard 3
I bought this postcard at Poipet Post Office and had it cancelled at Poipet, Battambang, Siem Reap and later at border Thailand town of Aranyaphratet.

Postcard 5
I bought this postcard in Siem Reap.

Cambodia - Sbek Thom, Khmer Shadow Theatre

"The Sbek Thom is a Khmer shadow theatre featuring twometre high, non-articulated puppets made of leather openwork. Dating from before the Angkorian period, the Sbek Thom, along with the Royal Ballet and mask theatre, is considered sacred. Dedicated to the divinities, performances could only take place on specific occasions three or four times a year, such as the Khmer New Year, the King’s birthday or the veneration of famous people. After the fall of Angkor in the fifteenth century, the shadow theatre evolved beyond a ritualistic activity to become an artistic form, while retaining its ceremonial dimension. The puppets are made from a single piece of leather in a special ceremony for each character representing gods and deities. The hides are dyed with a solution made from the bark of the Kandaol tree. The artisan draws the desired figure on the tanned hide, then cuts it out and paints it before attaching it to two bamboo sticks enabling the dancer to control the puppet. The performances traditionally take place at night outdoors beside a rice-field or pagoda. A large white backdrop is held between two tall bamboo screens in front of a large fire or, nowadays, projectors. The shadows of the puppet’s silhouettes are projected onto the white screen. The animators bring the puppets to life with precise and specific dance steps. The performance is accompanied by an orchestra and two narrators. Inspired from the Reamker, the Khmer version of the Ramayana, the performances stage scenes of this epic, which may last several nights and require up to 160 puppets for a single presentation..." Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage I watched this incredible invited Cambodian performance of Cambodia shadow puppet show at Khoo Kongsi in the heart of UNESCO World Heritage of George Town, Penang island. It was amazing. Also got a postcard to commemorate this performance in the George Town Festival July 7, 2012.

Postcard 1
I got this complementatry postcard at George Town Festival 2012 where a troupe from Cambodia were invited to perform this shadow puppet play.  It was amazing to watch. I later got this postcard cancelled at Siem Reap post office when I visited in March, 2017.

Postcard 2
Complimentary postcard at TROPFEST South east Asia at Esplanad, Penang Island, Malaysia.

Turkey - Traditional craftsmanship of Çini-making

"Çini are traditional, handmade glazed tiles and ceramics made in Turkey featuring colourful motifs of plants, animals and geometric patterns often found on facades of buildings and in homes throughout the country. Producing çini involves a series of processes. The clay is first shaped, lined, dried and fired in ovens specifically for çini making. Designs representing local customs and beliefs are then drilled on paper and transferred to the surface with coal dust. Outer contours of the patterns are hand drawn, the surface dyed in various colours and then the work is glazed and fired. Çini-making workshops involve craftspeople, supervisors and apprentices. Each craftsperson has a specific role – shaping, design and dye, polishing and undercoating or firing. Practitioners consider çini making as an outlet for self-expression, development and healing, as well as a means of maintaining an art form that is a symbolic aspect of Turkey’s cultural identity, strengthening links from the past to the present providing continuity. Çini making is not confined to workshop spaces. The tradition is also practised in the home, public education centres, vocation schools and universities throughout the country where neither age, gender nor ethnicity are barriers to knowledge sharing, transmission and skills development."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Postcard 1
Tiles. Thanks to Gokce of Turkey.

Postcard 2
Thanks to Dilek of Turkey for this Ceramic postcard sent from Turkey.

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.

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