Korea promotes kimchi for UNESCO heritage list
Korea is seeking to obtain United Nations world heritage status for kimchi and three other cultural assets, officials said Friday.
The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) said it will soon file applications with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to have kimchi and an annual kimchi making and sharing event called kimjang, designated as a UNESCO Memory of the World.
"Yeondeunghoe," a lotus lantern festival held by Buddhists, is also a candidate for UNESCO Memory of the World designation, the administration said.
It also said that "Nanjung Ilgi," a war diary written by Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) Admiral Yi Sun-shin, and the archives of "Saemaul Undong," a new community movement of the 1970s, will be presented to the UNESCO to be added to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Kimjang is one of the major traditional events in Korean households, dating back to a time when fresh vegetables were scarce during the long cold season. Each fall, families gather to prepare various types of kimchi and then share the spicy dish with neighbors after the symbolic event.
Yeondeunghoe initially started as a Buddhist tradition held on the day of Daeboreum, the first full moon of the lunar calendar, in the Shilla Kingdom (57 B.C.-935 A.D.). The religious ceremony has now become an annual event to celebrate Buddha's birthday in downtown Seoul where a lantern parade and street fair take place.
Admiral Yi, who played a key role in destroying the Japanese army during the war in the Joseon Dynasty, documented detailed strategies and tactics. The collection of nine diaries is considered very rare as the commander in chief documented strategies and tactics in detail, the CHA said.
Saemaul Undong, launched in the 1970s by then-President Park Chung-hee, is the government-led campaign spearheading the modernization the then-rural South Korean economy.
In addition, the CHA said, the traditional Korean folk song "Arirang" will be again submitted for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status next month, after its initial attempt failed in 2009. (Yonhap)