Mauritius earns a spot in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, thanks to its culture of Geet Gawai.
Mauritius has yet another place in UNESCO’s special lists through the acceptance of the candidacy of Bhojpuri Folk Songs Geet Gawai. This is the 4th attribute of the island that features in the organisation’s heritage section.
The news was announced during a ceremony of the 11th session of the intergovernmental committee of the protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), currently unfolding in Ethiopia. ICH is described as UNESCO’s counterpart to the World Heritage; it celebrates oral traditions, arts, and rituals of countries throughout the world.
Geet Gawai originates from India, Bihar and Calcutta more specifically. It constitutes a variety of folk songs and dances that emerged on the island back in the 19th century; it is delivered through the clapping of hands, the beat of the dholak, chamach, lota or chinta. The Geet Gawai culture came to Mauritius at the arrival of the Indentured Labourers in 1834.
Mauritius is also recognised worldwide through UNESCO for its historical sites like the Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne Brabant, and for its practice pertaining to the Séga Typique.