Türkiye announces inclusion of ‘tea culture’ on UNESCO list

Turkiye has announced the inclusion of two multinational values on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, tea culture as a symbol of “identity, hospitality and social interaction” and the tradition of telling jokes by satirist Nasreddin Hodja.

Black tea, taken at all hours of the day across Turkiye, is traditionally prepared in small samovars, and served in small, tulip-shaped glasses that can be cupped in the palm of the hand.

The 17th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage organized by the U.N. acknowledged the ceremony’s strong social significance in its statement announcing the decision on Dec. 1.

“Tea culture in Azerbaijan and Turkiye is an important social practice that shows hospitality, builds and maintains social ties, and is used to celebrate important moments in the lives of communities,” it said.

It is taken in bazaars across the country, where teasellers still walk the streets of cities serving the drink to traders and their customers on metal trays.

In some parts of Azerbaijan, UNESCO noted,people add spices and herbs such as cinnamon, ginger and thyme.

“Tea culture is an essential part of daily life for all layers of society, providing a strong sense of cultural identity,” said the UNESCO statement.

The tea drunk in Turkiye is for the most part harvested in the hills of the northeast of the country overlooking the Black Sea.

Turkiye’s famous coffee was acknowledged on the UNESCO list back in 2013, but the founder of modern Turkiye, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk encouraged the drinking of tea to support national production.

The country broke its own record in tea consumption with an increase from 3.5 to 4 kilograms per person annually amid the pandemic, according to a report by the International Tea Committee.

Meanwhile, Turkiye also announced the inclusion of the tradition of telling jokes by Seljuk satirist Nasreddin Hodja on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Hodja is a unique and entertaining character from Turkish folklore.

The number of Turkiye’s cultural elements inscribed on the list has reached to 25, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We will continue to cherish and carry our rich oral traditions and expressions into the future and promote our socially-embedded cultural elements which have strong and deep-rooted tradition,” it added.

Earlier in the day, the ministry also announced the inclusion of its multinational “Sericulture and Traditional Production of Silk for Weaving” on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Thus, the country became the third country that registered the most items on the cultural heritage list.


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