Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 11.COM 10.B.25

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Romania has nominated Whitsunday pilgrimage from Şumuleu Ciuc (Csíksomlyó) (No. 01120) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Whitsunday Pilgrimage of Şumuleu Ciuc in Romania attracts Roman Catholic communities locally and from abroad, as well as other religious communions with thousands visiting the area every year. The pilgrims visit the Church of St Mary on the Friday before Whitsunday to give thanks to the Virgin Mary. The day after, they climb the Şumuleu Mountain, passing four chapels on the way up, believing the climb symbolizes the hard road to everlasting life. Other pilgrims choose to do the Climb of Jesus, praying to 14 crosses as symbols of Jesus’ stations on Golgotha. There are also those who do the climb barefoot or on their knees. During the pilgrimage, participants sing songs from the past and wear traditional dress. An open air service then takes place between the mountains of Şumuleul Mic and Şumuleul Mare, and a meal afterwards where pilgrims get to rest and socialize. The tradition of the Whitsunday Pilgrimage of Şumuleu Ciuc is transmitted from older to younger worshippers in practising communities. It is considered to not only be a part of the pilgrims’ cultural identity but also a way of educating young people about values, reinforcing connections within and across communities and promoting solidarity.

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

R.1:   The nomination file describes the element as a major ritual event which facilitates the free expression of religious and cultural values, the assertion of local identity and collective memory, and the spiritual cohesion and communion of the believers. Its bearers and practitioners are pilgrims of both genders and of all ages who participate in the pilgrimage without social, political, confessional or cultural discrimination. The element (and its associated expressions – traditional costumes, religious songs, narratives or local symbols) is transmitted within families or religious communities as an expression of faith. The element’s social functions are manifested by strengthening the social relationships among ethnicities and cultures. The file demonstrates the element’s compatibility with existing international human rights instruments and with the requirements of sustainable development;

R.2:   Inscription of the element is likely to contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage and awareness of its importance among the half a million pilgrims who participate and beyond, through linkages with similar pilgrimages in neighbouring countries and through the media. By consolidating intercultural and intercommunity dialogue among groups from different geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, inscription would not only promote respect towards a significant expression of the religious intangible cultural heritage specific to Roman-Catholic communities, but also for human creativity and increase social cohesion, mutual respect and solidarity;

R.3:   The viability of the element has been ensured by the Franciscan order, other communities and regional and national government initiatives (including elaborate programmes for the event and the enhancement of facilities related to its practice). A four-year safeguarding and promotion plan is proposed (publicity, research and documentation, information dissemination and local and international events). The communities, groups and individuals concerned were actively involved in planning these measures and will take part in their implementation. The submitting State also indicates how it will provide support by establishing an appropriate legal framework, supporting museums and by monitoring the integrity of the element;

R.4:   Since 2011 when the nomination process began, representatives of the Roman‑Catholic community, local administration, cultural institutions, non‑governmental organizations and professional associations were actively involved in the preparation of the file. The file indicates that a diverse range of communities and institutions concerned gave consent for the nomination, provides evidence to this effect and confirms that there are no customary practices restricting access to the element.

  1. Further decides that the information included in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criterion is satisfied:

R.5:   The element appears since 2009 in the Romanian Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, elaborated by the National Commission for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage, working under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. The file presents an extract of the register, but does not explain how the inventory is updated and how the communities concerned participated in its elaboration.

  1. Decides to refer the nomination of Whitsunday pilgrimage from Şumuleu Ciuc (Csíksomlyó) to the submitting State and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle.