Preparations are underway for the registration of two unique Icelandic cultural practices — swimming pool culture and laufabrauð making — to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The registration process is expected to take a year and is seen as an important step towards preserving and promoting Iceland’s cultural heritage, mbl.is reports.
The uniqueness and cultural significance of swimming culture and laufabrauð making was outlined in a report prepared by Árnastofnun for the Ministry of Education. The application is complete to add the preparation of laufabrauð to the UNESCO list, and attention is now being shifted to swimming pool culture. Also being considered by the organisation are Finnish seed culture and French baguette culture. Both Finland and France have previously received UNESCO recognition for their cultural heritages.
Iceland’s swimming pools are not only a place for sports, they are social centres where people come together, relax and socialise. Icelanders have a deep bond with their geothermal waters, which play an integral part in our daily lives. “Swimming pool culture has been woven into the Icelandic national psyche for centuries,” Minister of Tourism, Trade and Culture Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir told MBL.
Making laufabrauð is another unique cultural custom that has been practiced for centuries. Laufabrauð is a traditional food made around the Christmas holidays. It is a wafer thin disc of dough that is elaborately carved with design before being fried to a golden crisp.
The registration of pool culture and laufabrauð on the UNESCO list will not only preserve these traditions for future generations, but also promote awareness of their importance to Icelandic identity. These cultural practices are an essential part of Iceland’s tourism industry and attract visitors from all over the world. By preserving and promoting these practices, Iceland can continue to share its unique culture with the rest of the world.
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