Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 18.COM 8.B.34

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Tajikistan have nominated Sadeh/Sada celebration (No. 01713) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Sadeh, or Sada, is a celebration held annually on 30 January. In the folk calendar, it marks the day when farmlands are prepared for their next spring plantation and when people celebrate the end of the coldest winter days, with 50 days and 50 nights remaining to spring. Accordingly, ‘Sadeh’ means ‘one hundred’. The element enjoys diverse manifestations in Iran and Tajikistan. It involves singing, dancing and praying around a fire and offering blessings and dry or fresh fruits. The day also marks the traditional start of agricultural work for the new season, with farmers sprinkling fertilizer in their lands and gardeners pruning their trees and bushes. After the Sadeh celebration, people in the villages meet outdoors to collectively clean water-streams and pools and to repair bridges. In both countries, the practice, including the preparation of traditional dishes, is transmitted through participation, observation and storytelling. Media, social networks, scientific works, articles, conferences and symposiums also contribute to the transmission of Sadeh. The practice unites people from different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds, providing an opportunity for peaceful interactions around agricultural and food traditions and promoting diversity and the continuation of oral expressions and memory.

  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:   Sadeh/Sada in Iran and Tajikistan celebrates the end of the winter and the beginning of spring. It includes indoor and outdoor practices such as singing, praying, dancing and fire-making, which holds a central place in the element. The element has many links with agricultural practices and enjoys diverse manifestations in Iran and Tajikistan. In Iran, Sadeh/Sada is mainly practiced by Zoroastrian communities. In Tajikistan, all rural communities are involved. Women and children play an important role in the celebration in both countries. Sadeh/Sada builds bridges between communities and transmits the history of the countries involved through oral practice.

R.2:   At the local level, inscription would contribute to the visibility of traditional festivals and celebrations that are closely connected to nature. It would also highlight cultural diversity and oral forms of intangible cultural heritage within local communities. It would promote the visibility and participation of NGOs active in intangible cultural heritage, and encourage the safeguarding of traditional agricultural values at the national level. The element can act as an example of tolerance and peaceful relations between people from different ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds, highlighting the role of ancient living heritage celebrations in linking different groups and promoting peaceful contact and dialogue over the course of history.

R.4:   The preparation of the nomination began in 2018. A team from each State was tasked with drafting the file. The teams consisted of representatives from the local communities as well as NGOs and experts, and were headed by two anthropologists. They met virtually in 2019, 2020 and 2022, and corresponded through social media. The process involved the participation of several women academics, experts and community members. Letters of free, prior and informed consent to the nomination are provided.

R.5:   The element is listed on the Iranian National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the National Inventory List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Tajikistan. The inventories are maintained by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts of Iran and the Research Institute of Culture and Information, Department of National Heritage of Tajiks in Tajikistan. In Iran, the element was studied and documented by researchers. There were several meetings with representatives of stakeholders, including local communities, researchers and local authorities. In Tajikistan, the element was identified and recognized by experts of the Research Institute of Culture and Information. The information for the inventory was prepared through several field visits and joint meetings with communities and NGOs. The inventory in Iran is updated every one to three years. The inventory in Tajikistan is updated every two years. 

  1. Further considers that, from the information included in the file, and the information provided by the submitting States through the dialogue process, the nomination satisfies the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.3:   The element is safeguarded by communities in each State through separate and joint measures, including promotional and educational activities. The proposed safeguarding measures include a series of joint measures and activities such as seminars, conferences, lectures, artistic and food heritage festivals and research. Both countries propose separate measures aimed at awareness raising and promotion, formal and non-formal transmission, increasing the elements’ viability, conducting research, documentation, and monitoring. State involvement in each measure is presented in the nomination file. Information on the involvement of different community organizations and NGOs in planning and implementing specific safeguarding measures is also provided; however, in relation to the information provided by some of the submitting States, the nomination would have benefited from a more elaborate description of the communities’ involvement.

  1. Decides to inscribe Sadeh/Sada celebration on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Encourages the States Parties to consider the possible effects of the inscription of the element, including the unintended consequences of increased tourism;
  3. Reminds the States Parties of the importance of ensuring the widest possible participation of the communities concerned in planning and implementing safeguarding measures;
  4. Further reminds the States Parties that listing numbers and organisations does not provide sufficient elaboration on the participation of communities in planning and implementing safeguarding measures.