Puruvesi winter seining and Snowchange receive substantial national recognition for cultural heritage. The traditional seiners of Puruvesi have been included into the National Inventory of Living Heritage in Finland.
The Ministry of Education and Culture has nominated 52 elements for inclusion in the National Inventory of Living Heritage. Puruvesi winter seining is one of them. Snowchange staff works in Puruvesi as professional seiners and Snowchange represents Puruvesi seiners internationally and nationally.
It is possible for elements in the National Inventory to be later nominated for inclusion in UNESCO’s international lists of intangible cultural heritage. The National Inventory of Living Heritage covers a wide selection of fields within intangible cultural heritage from nearly all parts of Finland. The National Inventory includes several traditional festivities, such as taking candles to the cemetery on Christmas Eve, the declaration of Christmas Peace in Turku, the conferment of master’s degrees and the lighting of Easter Fires.
There is also a wide range of handicrafts in the inventory: glass blowing, the Korsnäs sweater and the making of national costumes. The inventory includes several nature-related elements, such as snow games, mushroom picking, building and sailing on clinker boats and the fishing tradition in the rapids of the Tornionjokilaakso river valley. Performing arts also feature in the inventory: the Kaustinen style of playing the fiddle, Finnish tango, the singing tradition of the Roma people, the minuet and open air dancing. The list also includes food traditions, games and oral traditions.
The selection of an element into the National Inventory of Living Heritage is a recognition to the communities that work with the traditions. The inclusion in the Inventory makes the traditions more visible than before. At the same time, it brings them one step closer to being recognised internationally. The meaning of intangible heritage to people and the living and changing nature of these traditions were important features while naming elements to the national inventory. The inventory includes both well-knows living traditions practiced by large groups of people, but also traditions from small communities.
The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted in 2003, and Finland signed the Convention in 2013. The National Board of Antiquities is responsible for the implementation of the Convention in Finland. The UNESCO convention also includes creating an inventory of intangible cultural heritage at the national and international levels. The resulting inventory is a tool which can be used to identify, describe and convey knowledge about and information on living traditions.