Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 7.COM 11.9

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Colombia has nominated the festival of Saint Francis of Assisi, Quidbó for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Every year from 3 September to 5 October the twelve Franciscan districts of Quibdó, Colombia, hold the Fiesta de San Pacho, a celebration of the community’s Afro-descendant Chocó identity, embedded in popular-rooted religion. It begins with the Catholic ‘Inaugural Mass’ at the Cathedral blended with traditional dances and chirimía music performed by the San Francis of Assisi Band. This is followed by a parade of carnival groups featuring costumes, dances and chirimía. Each district offers a morning mass and allegorical floats and carnival groups in the afternoon. On 3 October, the patron saint travels the Atrato River in boats, and on 4 October people celebrate the dawn with devotional hymns and perform the Grand Procession of the Saint in the afternoon. Local artists and craftspersons make the floats, district altars, costumes and street decorations with young people learning alongside. Certain families per district act as custodians and work through the Franciscan Festival Foundation to organize events, preserve know-how and keep the tradition alive. The festival is the main symbolic space in the life of Quibdó. It strengthens Chocó identity and promotes social cohesion within the community, while promoting creativity and innovation through its revival and recreation of traditional knowledge and respect towards nature.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in file 00640, the nomination satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List, as follows:

R.1:   The festival of Saint Francis of Assisi constitutes an important marker of identity for the Afro-Colombians of the city of Quidbó and its environs; the annual gathering encourages social cohesion, solidarity and respect towards nature, while evoking the historical interactions of the many cultural groups that have lived in the region.

R.2:   Inscription of the Festival of Saint Francis of Assisi on the Representative List could increase the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage in general and promote respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.

R.3:   Safeguarding measures aim to strengthen the organizational aspect of the festival and its material infrastructure, and include awareness raising, documentation and training.

R.4:   Members of the communities and the Franciscan Festival Foundation were actively involved in the preparation of the nomination through workshops, interviews and other consultations and they provided free, prior and informed consent for the inscription.

R.5:   The Festival of Saint Francis of Assisi, Quidbó has been included in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Colombia since 2011, under the responsibility of the Heritage Office of the Ministry of Culture and the Colombian Institute for Anthropology and History.

  1. Inscribes the festival of Saint Francis of Assisi, Quidbó on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.