On Wednesday, December 15, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has inscribed Kolkata’s Durga Puja, an annual festival held in honour of goddess Durga on its ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. The list celebrates culture across the globe. This is a proud moment not just for Bengalis and believers of goddess Durga but for all Indians.
UNESCO announced the joyful news on social media in a Tweet that reads, “Durga Puja in Kolkata has just been inscribed on the #IntangibleHeritage list. Congratulations #India,”
Durga Puja in Kolkata has just been inscribed on the #IntangibleHeritage list.
Congratulations #India 🇮🇳! 👏
— UNESCO 🏛️ #Education #Sciences #Culture 🇺🇳😷 (@UNESCO) December 15, 2021
Indian politicians including West Bengal’s CM Mamata Banerjee expressed their delight in a Tweet highlighting that Durga Puja is not just a festival, it’s an emotion.
To every #Bengali across the world, Durga Puja is much more than a festival, it is an emotion that unites everyone.
And now, #DurgaPuja has been added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
We are all beaming with joy!
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 15, 2021
PM Narendra Modi also took to his Twitter handle to celebrate the good news.
Durga Puja highlights the best of our traditions and ethos. And, Kolkata’s Durga Puja is an experience everyone must have. https://t.co/DdRBcTGGs9
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 15, 2021
On the official website, UNESCO describes Durga Puja as “the best instance of the public performance of religion and art, and as a thriving ground for collaborative artists and designers. The festival is characterized by large-scale installations and pavilions in urban areas, as well as by traditional Bengali drumming and veneration of the goddess. During the event, the divides of class, religion and ethnicities collapse as crowds of spectators walk around to admire the installations,”
Durga Puja making it into the list of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ is a testimony to its significance. According to the Department of State Information and Cultural Affairs of West Bengal, this is the first time a region from Asia has received recognition of this time.