Belgian beer, Cuban rumba dancing and traditional New Year celebrations in several countries all make it onto UNESCO’s latest list of heritage worthy of protection.
The UN’s cultural body accepted Belgium’s application, recognising that brewing fosters a unified identity in a country divided by language.
But the 200 breweries, 1,500 different ales and lagers, and 30 brewing museums transcend the linguistic and geographical boundaries.
Belgian beer culture thus joins the likes of French gastronomy and Argentinian tango on the UNESCO list.
“I especially like the fact that they (beers) are global, universal, they make people gather together, and think that is what touched UNESCO, and for Belgium it highlights our traditions, our own culture that is linked to beer,” said Yvan De Baets, owner of the “Brasserie de la Senne” brewery.
UNESCO also celebrates rumba in Cuba as a symbol of “marginal society” that developed in poor areas.
With African, Antillean and Spanish roots, it’s praised for connecting people with music and dance that is described as “an expression of resistance and self-esteem while evoking grace, sensuality and joy”.
New Year celebrations in 12 countries from Turkey to Central Asia are also on the list. Customs ranging from meals to street performances are cited as encouraging peaceful communities.