LISBON, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa experssed his happiness on Thursday at the news that his country's Caretos de Podence tradtion has been declared the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
"Congratulations to the inhabitants of Podence who keep this unique tradition alive and to those who contributed to its international appreciation, which is a source of pride for all Portuguese," Antonio Costa tweeted.
The decision was announced at the 14th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which runs until Saturday in Bogota, Colombia.
The "Podence Carnival Winter Parties" was the only candidacy selected by the Portuguese government to represent the country.
The inscription of the Podence on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO is a source of "rejoicing" for the Portuguese, the Portuguese Association for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage ( APSPI) said in a statement.
The tradition of Caretos de Podence (Macedo de Cavaleiros) is a pre-historic Celtic religious ritual practised in some regions of Portugal.
In the village of Podence in northeastern Portugal, the carnival is one of the most important events on the annual calendar, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors.