Fri. Jun 9th, 2023

Muscat – Following the recent success in adding the khanjar and alheda’a to UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, efforts have been launched in earnest to include Shabab Oman in it, according to Dr Hamid bin Saif al Nawafli, Assistant Director of Department of Culture at Oman National Commission for Education, Culture and Science.
The khanjar and alheda’a, considered essential elements of Omani culture, were given UNESCO heritage status on December 1. The decision was reached during the 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, hosted by Morocco from November 28 to December 3.
Alheda’a is an oral polyphonic expression accompanied by gestures or musical instruments played by herders to communicate with their camels. The rhythmic expression is inspired by poetry; the herder uses a unique repository of sounds that the camels have become accustomed to in order to direct herds through the desert or pasture to an area for drinking, feeding and milking. Alheda’a can also be used for swift assembly of animals in case of immediate danger such as sandstorm
In an interview with Oman TV, Nawafli said, “Oman has succeeded in registering 13 elements of intangible heritage on the UNESCO list so far. The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, in cooperation with Oman National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, and the concerned authorities, succeeded in registering the khanjar and alheda’a recently in UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. We are proud of this new achievement.”
He informed that Oman submitted a joint file with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to register alheda’a.
A national team prepared a file for the registration of the two elements, equipped with all the information and short films that explain their heritage importance.
According to Nawafli, the khanjar is a part of the national emblem and plays a key role in many Omani customs and traditions. Historical sources and archaeological discoveries indicate that Omanis have worn the khanjar for centuries. The inclusion of the traditional dagger in the UNESCO list will support owners of Omani crafts and also the national economy.
Shabab Oman has a major role in spreading the sultanate’s message of love and peace and in forging friendship and brotherhood between Oman and various countries of the world.
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