Intangible cultural heritage is comprised of the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills, as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage. This involves not only oral traditions and expressions, but also performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe as well as traditional craftsmanship.
The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage – established within the context of the 32nd session of the UNESCO General Conference of 2003 – aims at protecting this valuable heritage on a global level.
Since the Austrian ratification of the Convention in 2009, the Austrian Commission for UNESCO has been in charge of its implementation on the national level. Its main tasks include the support of awareness-raising measures for the safeguarding, transmission and promotion of the intangible cultural heritage in Austria, and drawing up an Austrian inventory of intangible cultural heritage. At present, over 80 traditions are listed in the national inventory.