Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 13.COM 10.b.20

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Jordan has nominated As-Samer in Jordan (No. 01301) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Practised across many areas of Jordan, As-Samer consists mainly of dancing and singing and is performed on various occasions, most commonly during marriage ceremonies. Practitioners range from young to older individuals, with children being encouraged to take part during performances. On the wedding day, the father of the groom instructs the attendees to line up and start applauding and singing. The performance that follows involves specific roles for certain people. The Al-Hashi is a veiled woman, always one of the inviters’ relatives, who sings and dances in front of the Al-Samer row while wearing an Abaya (a loose, black garment worn over the traditional garment). Another person is the ‘Wasq Al-Hashi’, one of the Al-Hashi’s relatives, who takes hold of her sleeve or Abaya and asks her to sit down. Then comes the role of the Al-Badda, a man who starts singing by directly addressing Al-Hashi, to resume the dancing with poetry. The lines of poetry uttered during the performance form an integral part of the tradition, expressing feelings of joy, peace, intimacy and empathy among attendees. Practising As-Samer consolidates social bonds and promotes cohesion, and attendees of all ages are encouraged to participate spontaneously, in an effort to transmit the related skills and knowledge to the next generations.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   As-Samer is performed by different clans in all the governorates of Jordan during festive occasions, especially wedding ceremonies, as well as by traditional ensembles. It is transmitted spontaneously during public gatherings, at festivals and in a number of dance troupes. It embodies the history of Jordan and provides the communities concerned with a sense of pride about their cultural heritage. As-Samer boosts identity and tribal affiliation and strengthens social ties among community members. Although it is practised predominantly by men, the involvement of female dancers reflects the esteem in which women are held.

R.4:   The State Party addressed a wide range of stakeholders to participate in the nomination process. Two workshops organized in 2015 were devoted to the preparation of the nomination file, including proposing a set of safeguarding measures. Different stakeholders including leaders of several clans engaged in As-Samer provided their free, prior and informed consent to the nomination.

R.5:   As-Samer was included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Database during a community-based inventorying process taking place between 2012 and 2015. The researchers who collected the data were selected and assisted by the communities and NGOs. The elements are monitored and relevant experts update the entries every three years.

  1. Further decides that based on the information provided by the State Party to the Committee at its present session the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity are satisfied:

R.2:   As-Samer represents popular art and oral traditions based on collective performances, and the constant interaction between male and female dancers and the communities of practitioners fosters cultural dialogue and the sharing of cultural values. In addition to reaffirming and strengthening social ties, As-Samer encourages exchanges between the various categories of the population during marriage ceremonies. Durant As-Samer is a living showcase of dishes that are part of the region’s culinary arts, as well as of clothes whose production and elaboration call upon the region’s intangible heritage knowledge and know-how. As-Samer thus promotes the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage as a whole. The commensality of food, poetry, dance, clothing and joy highlighted at this ceremony gives a positive image of living together and human cultural diversity.

R.3:   The safeguarding measures proposed could raise the visibility of As-Samer and encourage the organization of various events and associations related to the element. The embedded social function in the element which leads Jordanians from different social arenas to practice it in different contexts contributes to the sustainability of the practice. The file provides information of past and current safeguarding initiatives by the submitting State, developed in collaboration with representatives from the communities and groups concerned as gleaned from the information provided in the file and consent of communities. The State Party, in cooperation with communities, groups and concerned civil bodies, conforming consent of communities provided, is concerned to realize adequate legal policies for the safeguarding of the element recognizing the dynamic nature of intangible cultural heritage and provided support to communities as well as institutions in its study, documentation, promotion and dissemination. Proposed safeguarding measures have been designed to ensure the current and foreseen viability of the element, including research, transmission in formal and non-formal contexts within schools and cultural groups, awareness raising through local, regional or national fairs and festivals. As this element is practiced by the majority of the Jordanian population, every participants in this dance is a practitioner.

  1. Inscribes As-Samer in Jordan on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.