Intangible cultural heritage
An intangible cultural heritage is a practice, expression, knowledge, or skill, as well as the instruments, objects and cultural spaces that are considered by UNESCO to be part of a place's cultural heritage. Intangible cultural heritage is considered by Member States of UNESCO in relation to the tangible World Heritage focusing on intangible aspects of culture. In 2001, UNESCO made a survey among States and NGOs to try to agree on a definition, the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was drafted in 2003 for its protection and promotion; the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage defines the intangible cultural heritage as the practices, expressions, as well as the knowledge and skills, that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage. It is sometimes called living cultural heritage, is manifested inter alia in the following domains: Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage.
Some of that heritage takes the form of cultural property, formed by tangible artefacts such as buildings or works of art. Many parts of culture, however are intangible, including song, dance, skills, cuisine and festivals, they are forms of culture that can be recorded but cannot be touched or stored in physical form, like in a museum, but only experienced through a vehicle giving expression to it. These cultural vehicles are called "Human Treasures" by the UN. According to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the intangible cultural heritage – or living heritage – is the mainspring of humanity's cultural diversity and its maintenance a guarantee for continuing creativity, it is defined as follows: Intangible Cultural Heritage means the practices, expressions, skills – as well as the instruments, objects and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.
For the purposes of this Convention, consideration will be given to such intangible cultural heritage as is compatible with existing international human rights instruments, as well as with the requirements of mutual respect among communities and individuals, of sustainable development. Intangible cultural heritage is different from the discipline of oral history, the recording and interpretation of historical information, based on the personal experiences and opinions of the speaker. ICH attempts to preserve cultural heritage'with' the people or community by protecting the processes that allow traditions and shared knowledge to be passed on while oral history seeks to collect and preserve historical information obtained from individuals and groups. With sustainable development gaining momentum as a priority of UNESCO heritage policies, an increasing number of food-related nominations are being submitted for inscription on the lists of the Convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage.
The Mediterranean diet, the traditional Mexican cuisine and the Japanese dietary culture of washoku are just some examples of this booming phenomenon. The UNESCO lists of intangible cultural heritage include a variety of dance genres associated with singing and celebrations, from all over the world; the lists include: celebratory and ritual dances such as Ma'di bowl lyre music and dance from Uganda and Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan from India, social dances such as Cuban rumba. Some dances are localised and practised in their country of origin, such as Sankirtana, a performing art that includes drumming and singing, from India. Other dance forms, however if they are recognised as heritage from their country of origin, are practised and enjoyed all over the world. For example, flamenco from Spain and tango, from Argentina and Uruguay, have a international dimension. Dance is a complex phenomenon, which involves culture, the use of human bodies, artefacts, as well as a specific use of music and sometimes light.
As a result, a lot of tangible and intangible elements are combined within dance, making it a challenging but interesting type of heritage to safeguard. Digital heritage is a representation of heritage in the digital realm. Digital intangible heritage is a sub-category of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Intangible cultural heritage is passed orally within a community, while there may be individuals who are known tradition bearers, ICH is broader than one individual's own skills or knowledge. A 2006 report by the government of Newfoundland and Labrador said, regarding oral culture in their area, "The processes involved in the continuation of this traditional knowledge constitute one of the most interesting aspects of our living heritage; each member of the community possesses a piece of the shared knowledge. Crucial knowledge is passed on durin
Autonomous communities of Spain
In Spain, an autonomous community is a first-level political and administrative division, created in accordance with the Spanish constitution of 1978, with the aim of guaranteeing limited autonomy of the nationalities and regions that make up Spain. Spain is not a federation, but a decentralized unitary state. While sovereignty is vested in the nation as a whole, represented in the central institutions of government, the nation has, in variable degrees, devolved power to the communities, which, in turn, exercise their right to self-government within the limits set forth in the constitution and their autonomous statutes; each community has its own set of devolved powers. Some scholars have referred to the resulting system as a federal system in all but name, or a "federation without federalism". There are 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities that are collectively known as "autonomies"; the two autonomous cities have the right to become autonomous communities, but neither has yet exercised it.
This unique framework of territorial administration is known as the "State of Autonomies". The autonomous communities are governed according to the constitution and their own organic laws known as Statutes of Autonomy, which contain all the competences that they assume. Since devolution was intended to be asymmetrical in nature, the scope of competences vary for each community, but all have the same parliamentary structure. Spain is a diverse country made up of several different regions with varying economic and social structures, as well as different languages and historical and cultural traditions. While the entire Spanish territory was united under one crown in 1479 this was not a process of national homogenization or amalgamation; the constituent territories—be it crowns, principalities or dominions—retained much of their former institutional existence, including limited legislative, judicial or fiscal autonomy. These territories exhibited a variety of local customs, laws and currencies until the mid nineteenth century.
From the 18th century onwards, the Bourbon kings and the government tried to establish a more centralized regime. Leading figures of the Spanish Enlightenment advocated for the building of a Spanish nation beyond the internal territorial boundaries; this culminated in 1833, when Spain was divided into 49 provinces, which served as transmission belts for policies developed in Madrid. However, unlike in other European countries such as France, where regional languages were spoken in rural areas or less developed regions, two important regional languages of Spain were spoken in some of the most industrialized areas, moreover, enjoyed higher levels of prosperity, in addition to having their own cultures and historical consciousness; these were Catalonia. This gave rise to peripheral nationalisms along with Spanish nationalism; therefore and social changes that had produced a national cultural unification in France had the opposite effect in Spain. As such, Spanish history since the late 19th century has been shaped by a dialectical struggle between Spanish nationalism and peripheral nationalisms in Catalonia and the Basque Country, to a lesser degree in Galicia.
In a response to Catalan demands, limited autonomy was granted to Catalonia in 1914, only to be abolished in 1923. It was granted again in 1932 during the Second Spanish Republic, when the Generalitat, Catalonia's mediaeval institution of government, was restored; the constitution of 1931 envisaged a territorial division for all Spain in "autonomous regions", never attained—only Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia had approved "Statutes of Autonomy"—the process being thwarted by the Spanish Civil War that broke out in 1936, the victory of the rebel Nationalist forces under Francisco Franco. During General Franco's dictatorial regime, centralism was most forcefully enforced as a way of preserving the "unity of the Spanish nation". Peripheral nationalism, along with communism and atheism were regarded by his regime as the main threats, his attempts to fight separatism with heavy-handed but sporadic repression, his severe suppression of language and regional identities backfired: the demands for democracy became intertwined with demands for the recognition of a pluralistic vision of the Spanish nationhood.
When Franco died in 1975, Spain entered into a phase of transition towards democracy. The most difficult task of the newly democratically elected Cortes Generales in 1977 acting as a Constituent Assembly was to transition from a unitary centralized state into a decentralized state in a way that would satisfy the demands of the peripheral nationalists; the Prime Minister of Spain, Adolfo Suárez, met with Josep Tarradellas, president of the Generalitat of Catalonia in exile. An agreement was made so that the Generalitat would be restored and limited competencies would be transferred while the constitution was still being written. Shortly after, the government allowed the creation of "assemblies of members of parliament" integrated by deputies and senators of the different territories of Spain, so that they could constitute "pre-autonomic regimes" for their regions as well; the Fathers of the Constitution had to strike a balance between the opposing views of Spain—on the one hand, the centralist view inherited from Franco's regime, on the other hand federalism and a pluralistic view of Spain as a "nation of nations".
Sister cities or twin towns are a form of legal or social agreement between towns, counties, prefectures, regions and countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties. The modern concept of town twinning, conceived after the Second World War in 1947, was intended to foster friendship and understanding among different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation, to encourage trade and tourism. By the 2000s, town twinning became used to form strategic international business links among member cities. In the United Kingdom, the term "twin towns" is most used. In mainland Europe, the most used terms are "twin towns", "partnership towns", "partner towns", "friendship towns"; the European Commission uses the term "twinned towns" and refers to the process as "town twinning". Spain uses the term "ciudades hermanadas", which means "sister cities". Germany and the Czech Republic use Partnerstadt / miasto partnerskie / partnerské město, which translate as "partner town or city".
France uses ville jumelée, Italy has gemellaggio and comune gemellato. In the Netherlands, the term is stedenband. In Greece, the word αδελφοποίηση has been adopted. In Iceland, the terms vinabæir and vinaborgir are used. In the former Soviet Bloc, "twin towns" and "twin cities" are used, along with города-побратимы; the Americas, South Asia, Australasia use the term "sister cities" or "twin cities". In China, the term is 友好城市. Sometimes, other government bodies enter into a twinning relationship, such as the agreement between the provinces of Hainan in China and Jeju-do in South Korea; the douzelage is a town twinning association with one town from each of the member states of the European Union. Despite the term being used interchangeably, with the term "friendship city", this may mean a relationship with a more limited scope in comparison to a sister city relationship, friendship city relationships are mayor-to-mayor agreements. In recent years, the term "city diplomacy" has gained increased usage and acceptance as a strand of paradiplomacy and public diplomacy.
It is formally used in the workings of the United Cities and Local Governments and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and recognised by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. A March 2014 debate in the British House of Lords acknowledged the evolution of town twinning into city diplomacy around trade and tourism, but in culture and post-conflict reconciliation; the importance of cities developing "their own foreign economic policies on trade, foreign investment and attracting foreign talent" has been highlighted by the World Economic Forum. The earliest known town twinning in Europe was between Paderborn, Le Mans, France, in 836. Starting in 1905, Keighley in West Yorkshire, had a twinning arrangement with French communities Suresnes and Puteaux; the first recorded modern twinning agreement was between Keighley and Poix-du-Nord in Nord, France, in 1920 following the end of the First World War. This was referred to as an adoption of the French town; the practice was continued after the Second World War as a way to promote mutual understanding and cross-border projects of mutual benefit.
For example, Coventry twinned with Stalingrad and with Dresden as an act of peace and reconciliation, all three cities having been bombed during the war. The City of Bath formed an "Alkmaar Adoption committee" in March 1945, when the Dutch city was still occupied by the German Army in the final months of the war, children from each city took part in exchanges in 1945 and 1946. In 1947, Bristol Corporation sent five'leading citizens' on a goodwill mission to Hanover. Reading in 1947 was the first British town to form links with a former "enemy" city – Düsseldorf; the link still exists. Since 9 April 1956 Rome and Paris have been and reciprocally twinned with each other, following the motto: "Only Paris is worthy of Rome; the support scheme was established in 1989. In 2003 an annual budget of about €12 million was allocated to about 1,300 projects; the Council of European Municipalities and Regions works with the Commission to promote modern, high quality twinning initiatives and exchanges that involve all sections of the community.
It has launched a website dedicated to town twinning. As of 1995, the European Union had more than 7,000 bilateral relationships involving 10,000 European municipalities French and German. Public art has been used to celebrate twin town links, for instance in the form of seven mural paintings in the centre of the town of Sutton, Greater London; the five main paintings show a number of the main features of the London Borough of Sutton and its four twin towns, along with the heraldic shield of each above the other images. Each painting features a plant as a visual representation of its town's environmental awareness. In the case of Sutton this is in a separate smaller painting showing a beech tree, intended as a symbol of prosperity and from whi
Valencian referred to as Southern Catalan, is a dialect of the Catalan language spoken in the Valencian Community, where it is an official language, in the El Carche comarca in Murcia, where it has no official recognition. Besides, it is spoken in the south of the Terres de l'Ebre and in the south of La Franja in Aragon, in its transitional variety; the denominations "Valencian" or "Valencian language" are used traditionally and as a glottonym exclusively in the Valencian Community, to refer not only to the dialect spoken in the region, but to refer to the totality of the Catalan language. However, outside this territory the use of this denomination is null, it is considered the Valencian Community's own language according to the region's 1982 Statute of Autonomy and the Spanish Constitution. According to philological studies, the varieties of this language spoken in the Valencian Community and El Carxe cannot be considered a dialect restricted to these borders: the several dialects of Valencian belong to the Western group of Catalan dialects.
Valencian, as a variety of the Catalan language, displays transitional features between Ibero-Romance languages and Gallo-Romance languages. Its similarity with Occitan has led many authors to group it under the Occitano-Romance languages. There is some controversy within the Valencian Community regarding its status as a glottonym or as a language on its own among certain political sectors such as blaverism and Spanish nationalism. According to a study carried out by the Generalitat Valenciana in 2014, scarcely more than a half people in the Valencian Community consider it as a separate language, different from Catalan. However, according to the same study, most of Valencians with higher studies say that it is the same language. According to the 2006 Statute of Autonomy Valencian is regulated by the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, by means of the Normes de Castelló. Due to not having been recognized for a long time and the considerable immigration coming from Andalusia but from other areas of Spain where Spanish is spoken, the number of speakers has decreased, the influence of Spanish has led to the adoption of a huge amount of loanwords.
Some of the most important works of Catalan literature in Valencia experienced a golden age during the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Important works include Joanot Martorell's chivalric romance Tirant lo Blanch, Ausiàs March's poetry; the first book produced with movable type in the Iberian Peninsula was printed in the Valencian variety. The earliest recorded chess game with modern rules for moves of the queen and bishop was in the Valencian poem Scachs d'amor; the official status of Valencian is regulated by the Spanish Constitution and the Valencian Statute of Autonomy, together with the Law of Use and Education of Valencian. Article 6 of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy sets the legal status of Valencian, providing that: The official language of the Valencian Community is Valencian. Valencian is official within the Valencian Community, along with Spanish, the official language nationwide. Everyone shall have the right to know it and use it, receive education in Valencian. No one can be discriminated against by reason of their language.
Special protection and respect shall be given to the recuperation of Valencian. The Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua shall be the normative institution of the Valencian language; the Law of Use and Education of Valencian develops this framework, providing for implementation of a bilingual educational system, regulating the use of Valencian in the public administration and judiciary system, where citizens can use it when acting before both. Valencian is recognized under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages as "Valencian". Valencian is not spoken all over the Valencian Community. A quarter of its territory, equivalent to 10% of the population, is traditionally Castilian-speaking only, whereas Valencian is spoken to varying degrees elsewhere. Additionally, it is spoken by a reduced number of people in Carche, a rural area in the Region of Murcia adjoining the Valencian Community. Although the Valencian language was an important part of the history of this zone, nowadays only about 600 people are able to speak Valencian in the area of Carche.
In 2010 the Generalitat Valenciana published a study and Social use of Valencian, which included a survey sampling more than 6,600 people in the provinces of Castellón, Alicante. The survey collected the answers of respondents and did not include any testing or verification; the results were: Valencian was the language "always or most used": at home: 31.6% with friends: 28.0% in internal business relations: 24.7%For ability: 48.5% answered they speak Valencian "perfectly" or "quite well" 26.2% answered they write Valencian "perfectly" or "quite well" The survey shows that, although Valencian is still the common language in many areas in the Valencian Community, where more than half of the Valencian population are able to speak it, most Valencians do not speak in Valencian in their
South Korea the Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and lying to the east of the Asian mainland. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo, one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. South Korea has a predominantly mountainous terrain, it comprises an estimated 51.4 million residents distributed over 100,363 km2. Its capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of around 10 million. Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was inhabited by early humans starting from the Lower Paleolithic period; the history of Korea begins with the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BCE by the mythic king Dangun, but no archaeological evidence and writing was found from this period. The Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in 11th century BCE, its existence and role has been controversial in the modern era; the written historical record on Gojoseon was first mentioned in Chinese records in the early 7th century BCE.
Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Unified Silla in CE 668, Korea was subsequently ruled by the Goryeo dynasty and the Joseon dynasty. It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U. S. zones of occupations. A separate election was held in the U. S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea, while the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established in the Soviet zone. The United Nations at the time passed a resolution declaring the ROK to be the only lawful government in Korea; the Korean War began in June 1950. The war lasted three years and involved the U. S. China, the Soviet Union and several other nations; the border between the two nations remains the most fortified in the world. Under long-time military leader Park Chung-hee, the South Korean economy grew and the country was transformed into a G-20 major economy. Military rule ended in 1987, the country is now a presidential republic consisting of 17 administrative divisions.
South Korea is a developed country and a high-income economy, with a "very high" Human Development Index, ranking 22nd in the world. The country is considered a regional power and is the world's 11th largest economy by nominal GDP and the 12th largest by PPP as of 2010. South Korea is a global leader in the industrial and technological sectors, being the world's 5th largest exporter and 8th largest importer, its export-driven economy focuses production on electronics, ships, machinery and robotics. South Korea is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, the United Nations, Uniting for Consensus, G20, the WTO and OECD and is a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit; the name Korea derives from the name Goryeo. The name Goryeo itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo in the 5th century as a shortened form of its name; the 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo succeeded Goguryeo, thus inherited its name, pronounced by the visiting Persian merchants as "Korea". The modern spelling of Korea first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Company's Hendrick Hamel.
Despite the coexistence of the spellings Corea and Korea in 19th century publications, some Koreans believe that Imperial Japan, around the time of the Japanese occupation, intentionally standardised the spelling on Korea, making Japan appear first alphabetically. After Goryeo was replaced by Joseon in 1392, Joseon became the official name for the entire territory, though it was not universally accepted; the new official name has its origin in the ancient country of Gojoseon. In 1897, the Joseon dynasty changed the official name of the country from Joseon to Daehan Jeguk; the name Daehan, which means "Great Han" derives from Samhan, referring to the Three Kingdoms of Korea, not the ancient confederacies in the southern Korean Peninsula. However, the name Joseon was still used by Koreans to refer to their country, though it was no longer the official name. Under Japanese rule, the two names Han and Joseon coexisted. There were several groups who fought for independence, the most notable being the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.
Following the surrender of Japan, in 1945, the Republic of Korea was adopted as the legal English name for the new country. Since the government only controlled the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, the informal term South Korea was coined, becoming common in the Western world. While South Koreans use Han to refer to the entire country, North Koreans and ethnic Koreans living in China and Japan use the term Joseon as the name of the country; the Korean name "Daehan Minguk" is sometimes used by South Koreans as a metonym to refer to the Korean ethnicity as a whole, rather than just the South Korean state. The history of Korea begins with the founding of Joseon in 2333 BCE by Dangun, according to Korea's foundation mythology. Gojoseon expanded until it controlled parts of Manchuria. Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in the 12th century BC, but its existence and role have been controversial in the modern era. In 108 BCE, the Han dynasty defeated Wiman Joseon and installed four commanderies in the n
The Valencian Community is an autonomous community of Spain. It is the fourth most populous autonomous community after Andalusia and Madrid with more than 4.9 million inhabitants. Its homonymous capital Valencia is metropolitan area in Spain, it is located along the Mediterranean coast on the east side of the Iberian peninsula. It borders with Catalonia to the north and Castilla–La Mancha to the west, Murcia to the south; the Valencian Community consists of three provinces which are Valencia and Alicante. According to its Statute of Autonomy, the Valencian people are a nationality, their origins date back to the Aragonese reconquest of the Moorish Taifa of Valencia, taken by James I of Aragon in 1238 during the Reconquista. The newly founded Kingdom of Valencia was granted wide self-government under the Crown of Aragon. Valencia experienced its golden age in the 15th century. Self-government continued after the unification of the Spanish Kingdom, but was suspended in 1707 by Phillip V of Spain as a result of the Spanish War of Succession.
Valencian nationalism resurged towards the end of the 19th century, which led to the modern conception of the Valencian Country. Self-government under the Generalitat Valenciana was reestablished in 1982 after Spanish transition to democracy. Many Valencian people speak Valencian, the region's own co-official language, a southwestern dialect of Catalan standardised by the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua. Valencian is a diglossic language, repressed during Franco's dictatorship in favour of Spanish. Since it regained official status in 1982 in the Valencian Estatut d'Autonomia. Valencian has been implemented in public administration and the education system leading to an exponential increase in knowledge of its formal standard. Valencian is understood by more than half of the population living within the Valencian Community. Valencia was founded by the Romans under the name of "Valentia Edetanorum", which translates to'Valiance of the Land of the Lamb'. With the establishment of the Taifa of Valencia, the name developed to بلنسية, which became Valencia after the expulsion of the Moors.
"Valencian Community" is the standard translation of the official name in Valencian recognized by the Statute of Autonomy of 1982. This is the name most used in public administration, the media and Spanish written language. However, the variant of "Valencian Country" that emphasizes the nationality status of the Valencian people is still the preferred one by left-wing parties, civil associations, Catalan written language and major academic institutions like the University of Valencia. "Valencian Community" is a neologism, adopted after democratic transition in order to solve the conflict between two competing names: "Valencian Country" and "Former Kingdom of Valencia". On one hand, "Valencian Country" represented the modern conception of nationality that resurged in the 19th century, it became well-established during the Second Spanish Republic and on with the works of Joan Fuster in the 1960s, implying the existence of the "Catalan Countries". This nationalist subtext was opposed by anti-Catalan blaverists, who proposed "Former Kingdom of Valencia" instead in order to emphasize Valencian independence from Catalonia.
Blaverists have accepted the official denomination. The autonomous community can be homonymously identified with its capital "Valencia". However, this could be disregarding of the provinces of Castellón. Other more anecdotal translations have included "Land of Valencia", "Region of Valencia" and "Valencian Region"; the term "Region", carries negative connotations among many Valencians because it could deny their nationality status. The Pre-Roman autochthonous people of the Valencian Community were the Iberians, who were divided in several groups; the Greeks established colonies in the coastal towns of Saguntum and Dénia beginning in the 5th century BC, where they traded and mixed with the local Iberian populations. After the end of the First Punic War between Carthage and Rome in 241 BC, which established their limits of influence in the Ebro river, the Carthaginians occupied the whole region; the dispute over the hegemony of Saguntum, a Hellenized Iberian coastal city with diplomatic contacts with Rome, destroyed by Hannibal in 219 BC, ignited the Second Punic War, which ended with the incorporation of the region to the Roman Empire.
The Romans founded the city of Valentia in 138 BC, over the centuries overtook Saguntum in importance. After the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, during the Barbarian Invasions in the 5th century AD, the region was first invaded by the Alans and ruled by the Visigoths, until the arrival of the Arabs in 711, which left a broad impact in the region, still visible in today's Valencian landscape and culture. After the fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba, two main independent taifas were established at the region, Balansiya and Dénia, along with the small and short living taifas of Orihuela, Alpuente, Jérica and Sagunt and the short Christian conquest of Valencia by El Cid. However, the origins of present-day Valencia date back to the Kingdom of Valencia, which came into existence in the 13th century. James I of Aragon led the Christian conquest and colonization of the existing Islamic taifas with Aragonese and Catalan colonizers in 1208; the kingdom developed intensively in the 14th and 15th centuries, which are con
The Muixeranga is the collective name given to the performance of ancient street dances and human pyramids or castells, originating in the ancient Kingdom of Valencia, which are still preserved in the town of Algemesí, 30 km southwest from Valencia, certain other Valencian towns. The muixeranga is much more than an artistic acrobatic dance, it is a collection of ancient human choreographies of enormous plasticity illustrating various figures and shapes, which are held during the Algemesí town festival, in honor of the Virgin of Health. The Muixeranga resembles the modern castellers in many ways, the latter being spread all over Catalonia. Both traditions share the same origin, the "Moixiganga", once found throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Muixeranga differs from castellers in that the Muixeranga has a religious background and is accompanied by a traditional dance, it is focused in the height of the human towers, but focuses in the complexity and technique in order to create a plastic, figurative scene.
The feast day of Our Lady of Health, patroness of Algemesi is September 8, commemorates the legendary discovery in 1247 of a statue depicting the Madonna and Child. The image venerated in the town since the mid-twentieth century is a replica, because during the Civil War the original image of the Virgin of Health was destroyed, as was the chapel; the festival appears to have originated in a street party in the area of the Chapel of Finding and spread to other neighborhoods. The main celebration in held on 7 and 8 September, is preceded by a novena at the Chapel of the Finding, which begins August 29 and ends on September 6; the festival has preserved traditional dances and music, has served as a source for the recovery of dances that formally existed in other locations and have been able to be re-established. The involvement of the town’s inhabitants is the foundation upon which the continuity of this celebration is based; each ritual has been prepared independently since the 18th Century. From the “Muixeranga” through to each of the dances, the different variations and musical scores have been passed from generation to generation.
In the early 18th Century the dances belonged to different guilds. But social changes brought modifications to this custom and the traditions opened up to include people from other professional sectors. UNESCO has recognized the ritual and community participation dimension of the Valencian celebration Our Lady of Health as part of the "intangible heritage of humanity"; the Festivity of “la Mare de Déu de la Salut” has been studied by ethno-anthropologists and historians. It has inspired artists and poets. All of these people have remarked on the breadth of the cultural content of this event. Artistic groups such as the “Muixeranga”, it was this popularity and interest in the tradition that led to the creation in 2002, of the Museu Valencià de la Festa. At the centre, visitors can learn about the history, the ritual acts, the dances, the music and the costumes of the celebration, as well as enjoying many stories from the event. There are several theories on the origin of muixeranga in relation to its name.
The first theory advocates that the word comes from the Arabic word mochain, meaning "mask". A second theory links it with ancient processions held on the streets to commemorate some special event. Though the tradition in the Iberian Peninsula may date back to the 13th century, the first written record of the muixeranga in Algemesí can be traced to the first third of the 18th century. However, its constant, strong presence suggests a much older origin; the first solemn celebrations of the Virgin of Health happened in 1724, so this is the earliest that the muixeranga could be linked to this celebration. However, the first concrete date comes from the town account book in the year 1733, when the dulzaina players employed in the festival were given an annual stipend; the guilds were the real driving force behind the event, in changing times, they died out. The Muixeranga began to wane and by 1973 it had disappeared altogether. A group including writer Martí Domínguez i Barberà, Mayor Manuel Rico, Vicent Raga, festival organiser in the Capella neighbourhood, Father Vicent Castell Maiques, with the support of the students’ association Associació d'Antics Alumnes dels Maristes, were responsible for re-launching it under the guidance of Tomàs Pla.
A year the Friends of assossiació Muixeranga was founded. Eloi Miralles, a member of the Colla de Castellers de Vilafranca del Penedès, arranged for the muixeranguers to visit the Penedès capital and on August 31, 1978, the Muixeranga rose up in Villafranca’s main square, banishing forever that lack of visibility which might have proved fatal. At nightfall on 7 September, the beginning of the festivities is signaled by the ringing of the bells of the Basilica of St. James the Apostle; when the ringing stops and silence descends, the first notes of the flutes are sounded and the first of the processions begins. The procession, which begins with the mysteries and martyrdoms, has a scrupulous order with the towers of the Muixeranga second, followed by the Bastonets, the Carxofa, the