By Nigar Orujova
Another honor for Azerbaijan, silk scarf Kelaghayi may be included in the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The ninth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage will examine nomination of the Azerbaijani traditional art and symbolism of Kelaghayi for the Representative List.
The session chaired by Jose Manuel Rodriguez Cuadros (Peru) with 950 participants is held in Paris on November 24-28.
The 24-member Committee is in charge of implementing the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which to date has 161 member states.
The Committee will examine requests for being included in two lists of intangible cultural heritage: the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The List in Need of Urgent Safeguarding has 35 items to date and this year’s nominations are Cambodian Kun Lbokkator, Ethiopian Wirshato festival, Kenyan Isukuti dance of Isukha and Idakho communities, Ugandan Male-child cleansing ceremony of the Lango, and Venezuelan Mapoyo oral tradition and its symbolic reference.
Intangible cultural heritage consists of living cultural traditions, including oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.
Making and wearing women’s silk headscarves Kelaghayi is one of the 41 nominations for the list that aims to enhance the visibility of communities’ traditions and knowledge without recognizing standards of excellence or exclusivity.
At present, the Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity includes 281 elements.
Kelaghayi is Azerbaijani women's national headscarf made from fine and soft silk in a four-cornered shape. Kelaghayi is an integral part of women's national costume in Azerbaijan. The silk scarf protects from both the hot sun and cold wind as silk is cool in summer and warm in winter.
Kelagayis differ from each other in terms of their color tints and sizes and social status. Unmarried girls cover their heads with kelaghayis of bright colors, such as yellow, pink, gold or purple, while dark colored kelaghayis are for older women.
Azerbaijani cities such as Ganja, Shamakhi, Sheki, and Nakhchivan, and Basqal settlement of the Ismayilli region are famous for high quality kelaghayi production. Currently, there are special dynasties that continue the tradition of kelaghayi making.
Today, the trend of wearing traditional scarves has reached modern Azerbaijan.