Added to the list in: 2016
Why UNESCO added it: “The practice, transmitted by participation within families and from master to apprentice, expresses hospitality, solidarity and certain beliefs that symbolize common cultural roots reinforcing community belonging.”
What makes flatbread making special: UNESCO’s designation honors the communities of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.
In these countries, the baking of flatbread is a group effort, involving at least three family members who have a designated role in the rite. Each region has a different name for their flatbread — lavash, katyrma, jupka, yufka — but the process remains consistent across countries as a symbol of family and friendship.
The customary flatbreads are both eaten as part of ordinary meals and elevated for important celebrations such as weddings, births, holidays and prayer. Religion plays an important role in the custom — in Kazakhstan, the katyrma are made only on the holy days of Thursday and Friday. This variety of bread is especially thin and can be made quickly; when the nomadic peoples of the region were often relocated due to the hardships of war, it was developed as a means of sustenance.
There is a Kazakh legend that claims as a man is passing away, he will use these flatbreads as a hat to shield himself from the scorching heat of the sun on the journey into the afterlife.