The Importance of Cultural Heritage

Not everyone feels a connection with their cultural heritage, but many people do. What is it about cultural heritage that draws these people to it? Some may think traditions are archaic and no longer relevant, and that they are unnecessary during these modern times. Perhaps for some, they aren’t; but for others, exploring cultural heritage offers a robust variety of benefits.

Culture can give people a connection to certain social values, beliefs, religions and customs. It allows them to identify with others of similar mindsets and backgrounds. Cultural heritage can provide an automatic sense of unity and belonging within a group and allows us to better understand previous generations and the history of where we come from.

Flags of many nations

Understanding our cultural heritage can give a sense of personal identity.
Image: Garry Wilmore via Flickr CC

In large cities especially, it can be easy to feel lost and alone among so many other cultures and backgrounds. New York City, for example, is a huge melting pot of people from all over the country and the world. There are large communities based around certain cultural heritages, including Irish, Italian, Asian, and others.

Another benefit that comes from preserving cultural heritage as a whole is the communal support. Those that identify strongly with a certain heritage are often more likely to help out others in that same community. Real estate mogul Carl Mattone and his family, for example, are often sighted at fundraisers for local Catholic schools. Mattone was raised Catholic and attended Holy Cross High School in New York, where he has also been on the Board of Directors.

Cultural heritage is made up of many things large and small. We can see it in the buildings, townscapes, and even in archaeological remains. Culture can be perceived through natural sources as well: the agriculture and landscapes associated with it. It is preserved through books, artifacts, objects, pictures, photographs, art, and oral tradition. Cultural heritage is in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the religions we follow, and the skills we learn. Sometimes we can touch and see what makes up a culture; other times it is intangible.

An infographic of the heritage cycle.

A graphic of the Heritage Cycle originally developed by cultureindevelopment.nl.

The Heritage Cycle from Simon Thurley helps explain the process of finding and incorporating culture into our lives, if we wish to do so. It begins with understanding the culture. Only then may we begin to value it. From there, we can learn to care for a culture and eventually enjoy it. With more enjoyment, we will want to learn and understand more—and so the circle goes.

*Psssst! If you liked this article, check out Honoring the Cultural Heritage of Voodoo.

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26 Responses to “The Importance of Cultural Heritage”

  1. tanning salons April 11, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    I’m typically to blogging and i really respect your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and preserve checking for new information.

    • Thulisile Mpungose August 29, 2016 at 2:03 am #

      I really think so too, to me it teaches me about the history of our cultures and it also helped me with my research for my essay about ukubaluleka kwamasiko.

      • admin August 29, 2016 at 8:55 am #

        Thanks for the feedback! We’re glad it helped you with your essay!

  2. best survival knife April 11, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    It’s laborious to search out knowledgeable individuals on this subject, however you sound like you know what you’re speaking about! Thanks.

  3. butterfly_22 October 10, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    Knowing where you come from is very important because when you grow up you will know where you come from, never forget, and pass down to generations and generations to come!

  4. ritu December 2, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    quite an intresting article

  5. thuwaibat gamba December 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    It sounds interesting knowing whr we came from,am proud of being a Tanzanian that I have all rights to posses Tanzanian culture.

  6. Nima Gyeltshen March 5, 2016 at 6:21 am #

    keep on writing it is intresting

  7. Kashmir Kaye Awat March 10, 2016 at 6:48 am #

    May I know the name of the writer who wrote this article? I’ll be using this article as a reference for my Thesis. Thank You 🙂

    • admin March 11, 2016 at 9:31 am #

      Thank you for your interest in our blog! This article was contributed by a staff writer so it doesn’t have an author attribution, but you should still be able to site the website!

  8. Khabang April 9, 2016 at 4:23 am #

    It’s very interesting to know where you come from,it gives a clear understanding of how the generation came into being am proud to know my roots

    • hgsfhgt September 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

      heritage cycle? more like heritage swastika

  9. Wesley Stickney April 20, 2017 at 9:01 am #

    So that heritage value chart, was that meant to make a swastika?

    • admin April 24, 2017 at 9:46 am #

      Hi, Wesley.

      That was absolutely not meant to resemble a swastika. Thank you for pointing out the resemblance, though. Our team is currently working on redesigning the graphic. We apologize if you were offended and we assure you that was not our intention.

      – CC

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