Unesco declared Holy Week in Guatemala as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Guatemala has a new Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity with the inscription of the Holy Week in Guatemala in the Representative List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization -UNESCO- at the seventeenth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held on November 30 in Rabat, capital of Morocco, in North Africa.
The Holy Week in Guatemala was inscribed out of the 56 recognized nominations received at the session, with the approval by consensus of the 24 representatives elected from the 180 States Parties to the Convention for Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The Vice Minister of Cultural and Natural Heritage, Mario Maldonado, said, "Experts from around the world studied the elements that make up our Holy Week. We achieved a historic and exciting moment, which recognizes the value of one of the living cultural demonstrations in all communities of the country."
Holy Week in Guatemala, declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Nation in 2008, has been a highly developed cultural and religious festivity in the 22 departments of the country for five centuries.
With multiple representations of the ancestral Mayan, Afro-descendant, and Mestizo worldview, it has undergone many transformations that make it the celebration that brings together the greatest sociocultural diversity in Guatemala.
“All these cultural events express the diversity of values that form a fusion of Guatemalan cultures. They provide us with identity, a sense of belonging and constitute the expression of our essence as Guatemalans”, stated Felipe Aguilar, Minister of Culture and Sports.
In March 2021, the President of Guatemala, Dr. Alejandro Giammattei, requested UNESCO to register Holy Week in Guatemala as a World Heritage of Humanity, as it is a tradition experienced with all five senses.
"Holy Week in Guatemala combines spiritual and cultural diversity. It is a popular expression of faith and becomes an element of unity between people and expressions of living culture. With the Holy Week, the memories of our traditions flood the mind and bring us back to moments that fill our eyes with tears and goosebumps to our skin," added the Guatemalan president in his virtual intervention before UNESCO after being notified of the registration of the new heritage.
The Convention for Intangible Cultural Heritage promotes safeguarding the knowledge and skills necessary for traditional craftsmanship and cultural traditions passed down from generation to generation.
The fact that Holy Week in Guatemala is now an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity guarantees its safeguarding as a way for the passing of experiences, skills, and knowledge.