Thailand’s nora folk dance recognized by UNESCO as “intangible cultural heritage”

The traditional and ultra-elaborate southern Thai folk dance “nora” has been recognized by UNESCO as an item of Thailand’s “intangible cultural heritage”. The Nora show, which can last up to three days and three nights, will join the elite ranks of the other two recognized Thais on the Heritage List, Thai Massage and Khon Mask Dance.

The announcement was made during the 16th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and is expected to be officially announced today by Thailand’s Department of Cultural Promotion.

The dance is believed to date back to 1305 with roots in India. Accompanied by a fast rhythmic orchestra of drums, gongs and cymbals, Nora’s dancers, with their super long fingernails known as leps – perhaps the outfit’s most recognizable feature – wear patterned shirts vibrators, a pik neng or a pair of wings, as well as various bracelets and bracelets.

The Nora dance tells the tale of the Manohra, a bird princess, rescued by a local prince, and consists of 17 specific movements in 12 different positions.

The dance comes in two forms, one for ritual and one for entertainment. The most formal form of the dance, the Nora Rong Khru Yai, can last up to three days and three nights, the Nora Rong Khru Lek, is much more manageable one day and one night.


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