UNESCO has officially awarded recognition to Mexican mariachi music as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at a ceremony held over the weekend as part of the 19th International Mariachi Meeting in the western Mexican city of Guadalajara.

Eight child musicians between 5 and 10 years old dressed in mariachi attire accepted the honor at a brief ceremony Sunday in the main square of Guadalajara.

The ceremony was a symbolic effort to encourage younger generations to keep the tradition alive, National Culture and Arts Council, or Conaculta, president Consuelo Saizar said.

"We simply ask you to conserve and preserve this legacy and its traditions," Saizar told the children.

At the initiative of the Jalisco government, mariachi music was added to UNESCO'S Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the unanimous decision of a committee of experts meeting on the island of Bali.

The award established the guidelines for creating a national committee of experts and government officials who will define the strategies to follow in order to safeguard this music and ensure its dissemination around the world.

Also inaugurated were a library, a Mariachi Academy that will give courses, and an audio collection with 140 musical compositions and 50,000 miscellaneous recordings starting in the year 1910.

Jalisco state was also declared a World Heritage Site in 2001 for its agave landscape and ancient industrial facilities of tequila. 

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