Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 11.COM 10.B.12

The Committee
  1. Takes note that France has nominated Carnival of Granville (No. 01077) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Carnival of Granville is a four-day celebration that takes place in the lead up to Shrove Tuesday involving members of the community and nearby communes. Opening with the mayor handing the keys to King Carnival (a papier mache figure), it begins with a series of float processions interspersed with marching bands. The floats, about 40 in total, often take a humorous look at current events, politics and celebrities and involve the work of 2,500 ‘carnivalists’ who spend six months creating them, as well as smaller modules that also feature. Each ‘carnivalist’ is part of a committee representing an area of the town or a group of friends, colleagues or families involved. Local departments also assist, constructing some of the floats and contributing to the overall logistics. Social balls for different age groups are held, as well as a confetti battle in the town square. The festivities finish with a ‘night of intrigues’ when carnival-goers disguised in costume joke with loved ones or settle scores with impunity. Finally, the king is sentenced and cremated in the port. Attracting 100,000 spectators annually, the Carnival of Granville contributes to community unity and a sense of belonging. Associated knowledge is transmitted within families and committees.

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

R.1:   The file describes the element, its practitioners and bearers, their specific roles and responsibilities, and explains how knowledge and skills are transmitted within the family and community. The element promotes social interaction between families and communities, and social cohesion before, during and after the annual event. The cultural meanings are linked to identity of place and people, common tradition and history passed down through generations, as well as a source of pride in a cherished cultural tradition. The element constantly evolves over time, and is compatible with international human rights instruments;

R.2:   The file states that inscription of the element would contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general, and foster a greater appreciation of the link between intangible cultural heritage and movable objects associated with it. Inscription would further encourage dialogue within the Granville community and with other carnival communities worldwide. Inscription would also promote respect for cultural diversity, showcasing a tradition in constant evolution in which aesthetic creation, humour and craftsmanship are combined;

R.3:   An Organising Committee has been a key agent to ensure the viability of the element. It provides funds and other resources for the successful operation of the carnival and transmission of the element to the younger generations. The submitting State assists the committee, such as with support for research and documentation. The file indicates that various safeguarding measures (conservation and memory of past carnivals, and cultural exchanges with other carnivals) are planned, involving the communities and the submitting State. These also include the establishment of a commission to track and mitigate any negative impacts arising from inscription, such as over-commercialization;

R.4:   The nomination process was initiated by the Organizing Committee on behalf of the carnivalist community. The bearers of the element participated actively in the preparation of the nomination. The file includes evidence of their free, prior and informed consent to the nomination in the form of a large petition signed by more than 3,000 Granville inhabitants and carnivalists, as well as individual testimonies;

R.5:   The Carnival of Granville was included in 2013 in the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in France, and is being maintained by the Directorate General of Heritage, Ministry of Culture and Communication. The Granville Carnival Organizing Committee played a key role in preparing the inventory file. The inventory is updated by adding new facts with the community’s agreement.

  1. Inscribes Carnival of Granville on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the submitting State for establishing a monitoring mechanism rooted in the community concerned, which provides for the results of any evaluation of the effects of inscription to be communicated to the community for possible action.