A Greek agricultural treasure, the aromatic evergreen resin Mastic, known as Mastiha, that grows on the eastern Aegean island of Chios, has been given special status by the United Nations.
The product was included by UNESCO on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Greek Culture Ministry said that cultural arm of the United Nations endorsed a request for the status during its annual conference in Paris late last month.
The decision, the ministry said in its statement, “is an acknowledgement of the value of this element of our cultural heritage and, at the same time, it incorporates it in a global system aimed at the promotion and protection of living traditions.”
Mastic grows in the southern part of the island, giving it a unique quality attributed to the area’s particular soil and temperature climate. It is a favorite treat in Greece used in everything from a distinct liquor to gum and is known to have soothing abilities.
“The culture of mastic represents a comprehensive social event, around which networks of alliances and mutual help have been established,” UNESCO said. “The communal practices are also an occasion for perpetuating collective memory through the narration of old tales and stories,” it said.