Several Indonesian Cultures are Included in the UNESCO List

As a large nation consisting of many ethnic groups, Indonesia has a variety of cultures in each region.

It is not surprising that several Indonesian cultures are designated as a cultural heritage which was confirmed by the United Nation Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

So, what are the Indonesian cultures that have made it into the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage? Come on, see the list below.


Gamelan was officially designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage at the UNESCO Session of the 16th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Paris, France on December 15, 2021.

Gamelan reflects three important aspects, namely material, music, and function. Gamelan is an Indonesian percussion orchestra.

Gamelan is a set of traditional musical instruments made mostly of hand forged metal (bronze, brass, and iron).

Gamelan is used for rituals and ceremonies of the human life cycle, mental health therapy and other purposes, for example, to improve character, develop life skills, increase learning concentration, self-confidence and motivation.

Tari Saman

Saman dance is part of the cultural heritage of the Gayo people of Aceh province in Sumatra.

Young boys perform the Saman dance sitting or kneeling in tight rows.

Each wearing a black costume embroidered with colorful Gayo motifs that symbolize nature and noble values.

The movements in the Saman dance symbolize the daily life of the Gayo people and their natural environment.

Saman is performed to celebrate national and religious holidays, to strengthen relations between village groups who invite each other to perform.

The Saman Dance was designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2011.

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Wayang Show

Puppet shows are renowned for the complexity of the wayang puppets and their complex musical style, this ancient form of storytelling originates from the island of Java in Indonesia.

For ten centuries wayang flourished in the royal courts of Java and Bali as well as in rural areas.

There are two main types of wayang, namely three-dimensional wooden puppets (wayang klitik or golèk) and flat leather puppets (shadow puppets) that are projected in front of a screen that is lit from behind. Both types are characterized by costumes, facial features and articulated body parts.

Puppet stories borrow characters from original myths, Indian epics and heroes from Persian stories.

The Puppet Show is played by a Dalang. Wayang managed to be crowned as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity on November 4, 2008 (originally proclaimed in 2003)

Well, those are some Indonesian cultures that are included in the list of intangible cultural heritage from UNESCO.

Hopefully this article can add insight to your junior high school friend, yes. As a young generation, don’t forget to continue to study and preserve the original culture of Indonesia.

This Can Be Done for the Advancement of Indonesian Culture

The currents of the global world, especially culture, are increasingly felt in Indonesia today.

For example, K-pop, the art of music from South Korea has been more attractive to Indonesian children since the 2000s until now.

The Law on the Advancement of Culture exists as an effort by the government to increase the resilience and contribution of indigenous Indonesian culture by inviting the public to be involved in its promotion.

The diverse cultural heritage of the Indonesian nation, of course, is the obligation of all of us to continue to preserve it so that it does not become extinct.

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In addition, the nation’s children also need attention to be involved in supporting the advancement of culture in Indonesia with various active roles through education and others.

Some of the things below you can do to participate in the advancement of Indonesian culture.

First, to contribute the ideas of regional culture to the appointed expert representatives in each local district or city.

Later, the main ideas of this regional culture will be a reference in the preparation of cultural strategies and master plans for the promotion of culture by the central government.

Second, recording and documenting objects of cultural advancement through an integrated cultural data collection system.

In the future, the system will be provided and developed by the central government where every Indonesian can access it.

Third, continuously updating data on objects of cultural promotion that have been previously verified and validated by the central government.

The verification and validation of the object data for the promotion of culture is carried out by involving experts in their respective fields according to the object.

Fourth, play an active role in securing the object of cultural promotion so that foreign parties do not make claims on the object’s intellectual property.

This can be done by continuously updating data on objects of cultural advancement, inheriting objects of cultural advancement to future generations, and fighting for objects of cultural advancement as world cultural heritage.

Fifth, play an active role in maintaining the object of cultural promotion to prevent damage, loss, and even destruction of the object.

In order to prevent this from happening, we always strive to maintain the nobility and wisdom of the object of cultural promotion; using objects of cultural advancement in daily life; maintain the diversity of objects of cultural promotion; revive and maintain the cultural ecosystem for each object of cultural promotion; and pass on the object of cultural advancement to the next generation.

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Sixth, play an active role in saving the object of cultural advancement through revitalization, repatriation, and or restoration.

play an active role in developing objects of cultural advancement through the dissemination, assessment, and enrichment of diversity.

Seventh, play an active role in publishing all information related to the inventory, security, maintenance, and rescue of objects of cultural promotion.

This publication can be carried out using various forms of media, both domestically and abroad.

Eighth, we can also take advantage of the object of cultural advancement to build national character, increase cultural resilience, improve people’s welfare, and increase Indonesia’s active role and influence in international relations.

Building national character can take advantage of the object of cultural advancement through internalization of cultural values, innovating to produce new things according to the times, increasing adaptation to change, and cross-cultural communication and collaboration between cultures.

In improving people’s welfare, objects of cultural advancement can also be processed into more useful products as long as they maintain their nobility and wisdom values ​​and follow the applicable regulations.

Not only that, the object of cultural promotion can also be used to increase Indonesia’s active role and influence in international relations through cultural diplomacy and increasing international cooperation in the field of culture in accordance with statutory regulations.

Rights include: Expression, Obtaining protection for the results of cultural expression, Utilizing cultural facilities and infrastructure, Gaining access to information about Culture, Utilizing cultural facilities and infrastructure, Benefiting from cultural promotion to improve welfare.

Obligations include: Supporting efforts to promote culture, maintaining diversity, encouraging intercultural interaction, promoting Indonesian national culture, maintaining cultural facilities and infrastructure.