Tradition Bearers

Mummers on the Port au Port Peninsula - Credit: David A. Taylor

All intangible cultural heritage is based in communities, and lives within individuals. Community members recognize certain traditions as essential to their identity within particular groups.

The sustainability of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) depends on its basis in communities, and on the continuing activities of those who know and practice customs within these communities.

Community can have many definitions and characteristics. Some communities are based in a particular place, others share many places. Each person belongs to several different communities. For example, we can be Newfoundlanders as well as teachers and musicians, or Labradorians as well as First Nations and fishers - the list of identities is diverse and personal.

In every community, people share particular types of ICH that connect them to each other, and to that group. As these communities live and evolve, so does their ICH.

And so we are all tradition bearers of one kind or another. Many of us sing songs or tell stories; some of us know about fishing grounds or berry grounds, others know about curing illnesses or holiday customs; some of us play cards or skateboard.

People who are known to have particular or specialized skills or knowledge must be encouraged, and we must work to safeguard the traditions they share with all of us.