Jeju’s women divers ‘haenyeo’ likely to be listed as UNESCO Cultural Heritage

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SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) — Women divers on South Korea’s resort island of Jeju, or “haenyeo,” are likely to be listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO, the Cultural Heritage Administration said.

The South Korean government agency said on Monday the Evaluation Body of UNESCO, which evaluates the nominations to the lists, suggested the South Korean culture be “inscribed,” raising the possibility that it can become the country’s 19th cultural heritage registered by the global organization. The Evaluation Body’s suggestions are hardly ever ignored.

In this undated file photo, a woman diver, or haenyeo, picks up seafood from the ocean floor. (Yonhap)

In this undated file photo, a woman diver, or “haenyeo,” picks up seafood from the ocean floor. (Yonhap)

UNESCO said the culture shows the true colors of cultural diversity of the local community and has high value as intangible cultural heritage considering its generations-old ceremony wishing for safety and good harvest, the passing down of diving know-how through the generations and various activities based on proceeds they make together to promote social cohesion.

It added that the culture also reminds people of the importance of females being included in the workforce and encourages communication with other communities that have a similar culture.

The final decision will be made during the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage slated to be held from Nov. 26-Dec. 2 in Addis Abada, Ethiopia.

This year, the body evaluated 37 lists, among which 18 cases were recommended to be inscribed.

South Korea has been listed 18 times on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO, including for the royal ancestral ritual in the Jongmyo shrine and its music, pansori epic chant, the Gangneung Danoje festival, and the annual practice of making and sharing kimchi before winter, known as “gimjang.”

South Korean women divers, or haenyeo, parade during the 9th Haenyeo Festival on Jeju Island on Sept. 24, 2016. (Yonhap)

South Korean women divers, or “haenyeo,” parade during the 9th Haenyeo Festival on Jeju Island on Sept. 24, 2016. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr

(END)

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