Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 12.COM 11.B.7

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Bulgaria, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova and Romania have nominated Cultural practices associated to the 1st of March (No. 01287) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Cultural Practices Associated to the 1st of March comprise traditions transmitted since ancient times to celebrate the beginning of spring. The main practice consists of making, offering and wearing a red and white thread, which is then untied when the first blossom tree, swallow or stork is seen. A few other local practices also form part of a larger spring celebration, such as purification actions in Moldova. The artefact is considered to provide symbolic protection against perils such as capricious weather, with the practice ensuring a safe passage from winter to spring for individuals, groups and communities. All members of the communities concerned participate, irrespective of age, and the practice contributes to social cohesion, intergenerational exchange and interaction with nature, fostering diversity and creativity. Informal education is the most frequent means of transmission: in rural areas, young girls are taught how to make the thread by older women, while in urban areas apprentices learn from teachers, craftspeople and through informal education. Another occasion for transmission is provided by Martenitsa/Martinka/Mărţişor workshops organized by ethnographic museums. The communities concerned are actively involved in efforts to inventory, research, document and promote the element, and numerous cultural projects geared at its safeguarding are underway.

  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:   The element has deep roots in the beliefs and traditions of the population of the urban and rural regions across all four countries. The submitting States have indicated the social functions of the element, which enhances the cohesion of the communities concerned, marks the beginning of agricultural activities, serves a psychological and magic function, and helps foster a sense of identity. Both genders play significant roles in the enactment of the practice. Knowledge and skills related to the element are transmitted to the younger generation, especially by women, through informal education. It is clear that the element constitutes a constantly recreated practice of cultural heritage shared by people from four States, symbolically expressing interaction with nature and interpersonal relationships.

R.2:   As the element is very popular in all four submitting countries, its inscription would raise public awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage and enrich the Representative List with an element based on ancient knowledge about nature and the universe, providing an example of people living harmoniously, in accordance with their traditional, inherited calendars. The inscription of the element would encourage communities in both rural and urban areas to discover intangible cultural heritage and recognize the shared heritage existing in a large area of south-eastern Europe.

R.3:   The viability of the element is ensured by the communities, groups and individuals concerned through its transmission and informal learning within families and neighbourhoods, as well as through workshops and dedicated optional school programmes and educational museum programmes. Scientific institutes, museums, schools, cultural centres, non-governmental organizations and the authorities in the four countries support the inventorying, research, documentation and promotion of the practice. States Parties also collaborate with bearers of the element through international cultural exchanges. The legislative framework and financial incentives are ensured by the governments, to facilitate the implementation of safeguarding measures which will be monitored by the relevant national commissions.

R.4:   The four States Parties prepared the nomination file in close collaboration and with the active participation of a wide variety of community representatives, experts, non-governmental organizations and other relevant cultural actors. They submitted official agreements signed by legal representatives of selected communities and non-governmental organizations, who acknowledge the viability of the element and have agreed to support its nomination and safeguarding in the future. Young people, especially children, are particularly targeted as both participants and beneficiaries. The file provides evidence of the consent of all the stakeholders involved in the nomination process.

  1. Further decides that, on the basis of the information provided by the submitting States to the Committee at its present session concerning the procedures for updating the inventories and the involvement of the communities in the inventorying process, the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is satisfied:

R.5:   All four States Parties have several intangible cultural heritage inventories (national and regional lists for intangible cultural heritage or Living Human Treasures), in which the element is included. The inventories are regularly updated and drawn up in close cooperation with the relevant communities. They are maintained by the relevant Ministries of Culture and similar agencies in accordance with Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention.

  1. Inscribes Cultural practices associated to the 1st of March on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.