Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 10.COM 10.b.12

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Cambodia, Philippines, the Republic of Korea and Viet Nam have nominated Tugging rituals and games (No. 01080) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Tugging rituals and games in the rice-farming cultures of East Asia and Southeast Asia are enacted among communities to ensure abundant harvests and prosperity. They promote social solidarity, provide entertainment and mark the start of a new agricultural cycle. Many tugging rituals and games also have profound religious significance. Most variations include two teams, each of which pulls one end of a rope attempting to tug it from the other. The intentionally uncompetitive nature of the event removes the emphasis on winning or losing, affirming that these traditions are performed to promote the well-being of the community, and reminding members of the importance of cooperation. Many tugging games bear the traces of agricultural rituals, symbolizing the strength of natural forces, such as the sun and rain while also incorporating mythological elements or purification rites. Tugging rituals and games are often organized in front of a village’s communal house or shrine, preceded by commemorative rites to local protective deities. Village elders play active roles in leading and organizing younger people in playing the game and holding accompanying rituals. Tugging rituals and games also serve to strengthen unity and solidarity and sense of belonging and identity among community members.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

R.1:   Tugging rituals and games, involving almost all members of the communities concerned, are an effective sociocultural mechanism that mitigates any existing inequality; varying with particular circumstances in each submitting State, some knowledge and skills are transmitted orally through direct observation and participation, while some are acquired through training centres, schools and museums;

R.2:   By revealing the diversity of practices, as well as its adaptation to the ecological conditions in each community, inscription of the element could help to elucidate the important role of intangible cultural heritage in sustainable development, as well as the value of constant re-creation based on human creativity; the nomination itself, as a collaborative project between four States Parties, gives evidence of the capacity of intangible cultural heritage to encourage intercultural dialogue;

R.3:   The safeguarding measures were elaborated with utmost care through distinctly participatory planning, deliberation and decision-making, and thus encompass a variety of concrete activities responsive to the specific situation of the element in each submitting State and to the communities concerned; they include measures responding to possible unintended results of the inscription such as commodification;

R.4:   The nomination was prepared with the full participation of concerned communities, groups, individuals, safeguarding associations, related experts and other relevant stakeholders, varying with the situation in each of the submitting States; a broad range of attestations testify to their free, prior and informed consent to the nomination;

R.5:   Tugging rituals and games have been included in inventories of the four submitting States: Cambodia, Philippines, the Republic of Korea and Viet Nam (since 2013 in Cambodia, 2013 in Philippines, 1969 in the Republic of Korea and 2013 in Viet Nam).

  1. Inscribes Tugging rituals and games on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Requests the States Parties to pay particular attention to updating inventories;
  3. Congratulates the States Parties for employing an approach that is attentive to commonalities and specificities of the element in each of the States Parties, as reflected in a meticulous elaboration of safeguarding measures appropriate to each specific situation on the ground, as well as in the systematic involvement of all parties concerned in the conception and elaboration of the nomination file.