As the only uninterrupted civilization in the world, Chinese civilization has created countless brilliant historical and cultural achievements in the long history of more than 5,000 years, and is not a material cultural heritage, which is an important part of China's excellent traditional culture.

So, why can intangible cultural heritage transcend time and space to achieve integrated and innovative inheritance and development? What is its powerful force in promoting exchanges, exchanges and blending among various ethnic groups? Recently, "Dao Zhonghua" interviewed Lin Jifu, a professor at the School of Ethnology and Sociology of Minzu University of China, on this topic.

Reporter: The colorful intangible cultural heritage passed down from generation to generation is a vivid witness of the diversity and unity of Chinese civilization and its continuous inheritance, and a living display of the Chinese nation's blood connection and common destiny. Why has intangible cultural heritage been continuously developed and passed on across time and space over time?

Lin Jifu: Intangible cultural heritage not only remembers the development history of the Chinese nation, but also records the contemporary life of people of all ethnic groups, runs through the dialogue between history and the present, and shows the spiritual temperament and life vision of the Chinese nation.

At present, a total of 1557,43 items in China have been inscribed on the National Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and <> items have been inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (Roster). These intangible cultural heritage are the fruits of life and culture created and enjoyed by all ethnic groups.

In 2022, "Traditional Chinese Tea-Making Techniques and Related Customs" was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The picture shows tea farmers of Xinyang Xintiandi Cooperative in Henan Province picking Xinyang Maojian tea. (Photo by Xie Wanbai, China News Network)

Take the Dragon Boat Festival that has just passed, for example. 56 of China's 27 ethnic groups will celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival, forming the commonality, diversity and multi-level nature of the Dragon Boat Festival customs.

Why is the Dragon Boat Festival passed down among so many ethnic groups? An important reason is because the traditional customs of the Dragon Boat Festival contain two meanings, one is to pray for people's peace, health and happiness; The first is to convey ethical and moral concepts in people's lives. It can be said that it reflects some common value orientations and common emotional demands of the people of all ethnic groups in our country.

In addition, the customs of the Dragon Boat Festival are not born in one time and one place, but gradually integrate the cultural elements of the north and the south in the process of historical development, and innovation has formed a new life tradition.

The 2022 Qu Yuan Hometown Dragon Boat Festival and Qu Yuan's Hometown Dragon Boat Festival were held in Zigui County, Yichang City, Hubei Province. The picture shows the image of Qu Yuan composed of drones at the opening ceremony. (Photo by Zhou Xingliang, China News Agency)

For example, during the Six Dynasties period, Qu Yuan's life deeds entered the Dragon Boat Festival custom and were integrated with the dragon boat racing in the Two Lakes region. Although Wu Zixu is the object of the Dragon Boat Festival in Jiangsu and Zhejiang, the same Dragon Boat Race has appeared in the two lakes area, and games such as Dragon Boat Boat Swimming and Water Surface Hip Play have evolved due to the terrain and water potential. In areas lacking water resources in China, the Dragon Boat Festival also has the custom of rowing dragon boats.

People in most regions worship sages in this festival who have a noble personality or have made special contributions to the region. Such as Qu Yuan in Chudi, Wu Zixu in Wuyue region, Chen Lin in Cangwu, Guangxi, and Zhang Daoling, the founder of Taoism.

It is the inter-embedded symbiosis of these Dragon Boat Festival customs, traditions and value connotations shared by all ethnic groups that endows the Dragon Boat Festival with the vitality of transcending time, making the Dragon Boat Festival cross regional and cultural boundaries and achieve integration and innovative inheritance and development on a larger scale.

On the evening of June 2023, 6, the night dragon boat race in Sanxi Village, Jiangtian Town, Changle District, Fuzhou, Fujian Province, was crowded and lively. (Photo by Zhang Bin issued by China News Agency)

Reporter: From a higher level, how can intangible cultural heritage connect national feelings and safeguard national unity, and what power does it have in promoting exchanges, exchanges and blending among all ethnic groups?

Lin Jifu: Intangible cultural heritage is an important content and way to promote exchanges, exchanges and integration among all ethnic groups and connect national feelings. As a product of the economic and social development of all ethnic groups and the accumulation of production and life experience, intangible cultural heritage integrates the common values that people of all ethnic groups use every day without realizing it, manifests them in the production and life of mutual embedding and symbiosis, embodied in various social practices, concept expressions, knowledge and skills, and is the link between ethnic groups and regions, enhances the identification of people of all ethnic groups with Chinese culture in the inheritance of mutual learning from generation to generation, and promotes the formation and development of the Chinese national community.

Let me give you a well-known example. The 24 solar terms were born in the soil of Chinese civilization, and contain the life practice and life wisdom of all ethnic groups in China to create and share the natural time sequence and humanistic time sequence.

The 24 solar terms are blended with local customs, and through the folk life practices of different ethnic groups and local people, they present distinctive ethnic and local characteristics. "Jiuhua Lichun Festival", "Ban Chun Persuades Nong", "Shi Yan Says Spring", "Sanmen Festival for Winter", "Anren Rushing Branch", "Miao Nationality Rushing Autumn", "Zhuang Frost Festival", "Mid-Mountain Lixia Custom", "Sending a Big Summer Boat", "Meiyuan Mangseed Opening Plough Festival", "Inner Countryside Spring Cow Hunting Custom", etc., are all manifestations of the innovative combination of solar term etiquette culture and customs of various ethnic groups.

During the lunar "big summer" solar term, the Five Sacred Temple of Gezhi Street, Jiaojiang District, Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province, held a blessing ceremony for sending a big summer boat. (Photo by Huang Xiaohui of China News Agency)

For example, people in various places use agricultural symbols such as mangshen and soil oxen to express the beautiful meaning of crop reproduction and growth at the time of "beginning of spring", and produce social benefits of persuading farmers to plow and not miss the time of farming, forming a unique whip spring ceremony.

Zhejiang's "Suichang County Record" recorded: "In ancient times, a spring welcoming ceremony was held at the foot of Miansheng Mountain on the beginning of spring. The county official bathed in plain clothes and led the villagers to burn incense and bow down. Put a paper paste spring cow in front of the table, filled with grain. Prefectural officials first beat paper cattle with spring whips, and then distributed the spring whips prepared in advance to the peasant masses, whipping paper cattle, and the paper overflowed, so as to encourage everyone to work hard and strive for a bumper harvest. ”

Henan's "Neixiang County Record" recorded: "The city was in the city before the beginning of spring... Drum music and colorful flags are lined up in front of the god of the earth ox to welcome the spring and the year of mega-prosperity. ”

Hunan "Tongzhi Guiyang County Record" recorded: "Today, there are divisions to welcome the spring in the eastern suburbs on the first day, and the different soil ox and the common god set up outside the county magistrate's gate, and the next day they worship the common god at the time of Li Chun, that is, they set up the original place to whip the spring." ”

It should be emphasized that the same elements can be found everywhere in the rituals of the whipping rite of all ethnic groups. For example, the tea lantern play of the Shiyan Dong ethnic group includes a Spring Greeting Performance, in which the content of Chunguan Say Spring is similar in content to that of the Shiyan Dong ethnic group, only in its own form of expression. This shows that the folk activities and folk art formed around the 24 solar terms are the product of multi-ethnic integration.

It can be said that intangible cultural heritage carries the common values of people of all ethnic groups, which present and nourish people's living world and spiritual world in the way of the times, and have the function of expanding and strengthening mutual understanding, appreciation and reference among all ethnic groups, reflecting the inclusiveness of Chinese culture of seeking common ground while reserving differences and being inclusive.

Reporter: Today, what useful explorations have we made in establishing and improving the inheritance system of intangible cultural heritage? How to continuously strengthen the cohesion of the Chinese nation in the process of protection and inheritance?

Lin Jifu: The characteristics of intangible cultural heritage, such as "passing on from generation to generation", "re-creation", "sense of identity and continuity", etc., indicate that it has cultural genes with permanent and sustainable vitality. This kind of cultural gene is an intrinsic characteristic gradually shaped and formed from a region, a nation to a country, and has been continuously enriched and improved in the inheritance and development of intangible cultural heritage.

For the protection of intangible cultural heritage, the most fundamental thing is to activate the intrinsic genes of intangible cultural heritage, adapt it to the new era, and grow in the daily life practice of various ethnic groups with innovative characteristics.

At present, China has recognized more than 100,000 representative items of intangible cultural heritage at different levels. A large number of endangered and valuable intangible cultural heritage has been protected, and more and more intangible cultural heritage is deeply embedded in the daily life of people of all ethnic groups, reflected in the tourism landscape, cultural industry and rural revitalization, systematically and vividly displaying the unique charm and great creativity of China's excellent traditional culture.

With the successive development of activities such as "Intangible Cultural Heritage Workshops", "Intangible Cultural Heritage Shopping Festival" and "Intangible Cultural Heritage Market", relevant departments have actively promoted the docking of intangible cultural heritage with the market, introduced market mechanisms into the field of intangible cultural heritage, and stimulated the vitality of diverse market entities in the inheritance and innovation of intangible cultural heritage.

"Intangible Cultural Heritage+" is an important way for the creative transformation and innovative development of intangible cultural heritage, and all localities are exploring innovative transformation paths of intangible cultural heritage as characteristic cultural resources in various ways. "Intangible Cultural Heritage + Tourism" is an important opportunity for the integrated development of culture and tourism, and many places have developed intangible cultural heritage characteristic theme tourism routes and research tourism products under the premise of effective protection. "Intangible Cultural Heritage + Industry" rationally uses intangible cultural heritage resources for literary and artistic creation and cultural and creative design, and improves the quality and cultural connotation of cultural and creative products. "Intangible Cultural Heritage + Internet" uses network technology to expand the ways of inheritance and dissemination of intangible cultural heritage, and broaden the channels for the promotion and sales of products related to intangible cultural heritage. "Intangible Cultural Heritage + Rural Revitalization" excavates the intangible cultural heritage resources of rural society and plays an active role in consolidating the results of poverty alleviation, promoting rural revitalization and achieving common prosperity.

[The above content is the personal opinion of experts and does not represent the position of this platform.] 】

Interviewee: Lin Jifu is a professor at the School of Ethnology and Sociology, Minzu University of China.

Executive Producer | Yang Xinhua

Co-ordination | Kang Kunquan Liu Jia

Responsible Editor | Liu Xian

Audit | Lan Xifeng

Reporter | Liu Xian

Production | Hu Qi

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