Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 18.COM 8.B.24

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Plurinational State of Bolivia has nominated Ch’utillos, the Festival of San Bartolomé and San Ignacio de Loyola, the meeting of cultures in Potosí (No. 01958) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Ch’utillos, or the Festival of San Bartolomé and San Ignacio de Loyola, is celebrated in Potosí, Bolivia in the month of August. An integral part of the local cultural identity, the festival is characterized by gastronomic fairs, dance performances and a procession to the sanctuary located in the Mullu Punku gorge, a natural site with rock formations. In the city, parishioners and musical groups take part in the Autochthonous and Folkloric Dancing Parade of Ch’utillos and are joined by rural communities wearing traditional clothing. Some travel up to 200 kilometres to reach Potosí, from towns bordering Argentina, contributing their traditions and oral expressions to the dancing parade. Dance groups from other Latin American countries also join the festivities, transforming the streets of Potosí into a platform for cultural exchange. Other bearers include the people who make the traditional musical instruments, clothing, accessories and dishes. The knowledge and skills of Ch’utillos are transmitted informally, through oral instruction and participation in the festivities. A symbol of faith and tradition, the Ch’utillos festival is part of the cultural heritage of the indigenous Q’ara Q’aras nation, marking the beginning of the preparation of the land and a new agricultural cycle, with offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth).

  1. Considers 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 festivities begin with gastronomic fairs, groups of dancers in handmade costumes, and a procession to the Sanctuary in the Mullu Punku gorge. People carry out different religious acts such as pilgrimages and soirees. Thousands participate, including artisans, musicians, institutions and the general public. Both men and women are involved in the transmission of the element: men make musical instruments, clothing and accessories, while women make food and snacks. The traditional music of the festival is preserved, disseminated and taught in preparation of the native entrance, and bearers transmit their knowledge within their families and communities. The Ch’utillos Festival marks the beginning of the preparation of the land and a new productive cycle. It is associated with systems of social organization, and the ethical and moral values have been maintained for generations. The element facilitates the active participation of people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, thus serving as a place for gathering, integration and interculturality.

R.2:   Locally, inscription of the element would promote the development of cultural policies to safeguard it. At the national level, it would highlight intangible cultural heritage that is based on universal human principles while spreading awareness about the importance of local historical and cultural traditions that are transmitted from generation to generation. Inscription would strengthen this cultural meeting space and allow the forging of ties between cities and countries with similar elements. Therefore, it will strengthen the process of interculturality by allowing practitioners to share their beliefs, knowledge, cultural manifestations, uses and customs with local, national and international populations.

R.3:   Past and current safeguarding measures include legislative measures, the continued practice of the festivity, and education, media and research activities. Safeguarding efforts from the State Party focus on relevant legislation. The proposed safeguarding measures are divided into six categories: (a) promotion; (b) transmission through education; (c) preservation; (d) improvement, development and dissemination; (e) legal protection; and (f) international cooperation. The State supports the safeguarding measures primarily through promotion efforts and financial assistance at the national and municipal levels. Bearers and practitioners were involved in planning the measures, in collaboration with state and municipal authorities. They will also be responsible for the implementation of the measures, by participating in cultural management programmes, trainings, awareness-raising activities, seminars and workshops to preserve and promote the festival.

R.4:   In August 2021, the ‘Promoting Committee’ was formed to prepare the nomination file. Representatives of the Catholic community participated in conferences and meetings organized by institutions such as the Ministry of Cultures, Decolonization and Depatriarchalization, and the Secretary of Tourism, Cultural and Patrimonial Development of the municipality of Potosí. These State organizations helped write the file and identify the local and contemporary characteristics of the festivity, with the active participation of the Committee. Consent letters were provided by the authorities and representatives of the various religious, folkloric and cultural associations involved in the element.

R.5:   The nomination file demonstrates that, since 2022, the element has been extensively inventoried in its various expressions in the Inventory of tourist attractions of the Municipality of Yocalla and the architectural catalogue of the Programme for the Rehabilitation of Historic Areas of Potosí. Information about the festivity was collected and processed through in-depth interviews with bearers, audiovisual recordings, the creation of inventory sheets in the field and in the office, and the review of secondary sources. The inventory will be updated every five years through the intervention of the Ministry of Cultures, Decolonization and Depatriarchalization.

  1. Decides to inscribe Ch’utillos, the Festival of San Bartolomé and San Ignacio de Loyola, the meeting of cultures in Potosí on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Invites the State Party, when submitting nomination files in the future, to provide information in the appropriate sections within the file.