Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.39

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Serbia has nominated Slava, celebration of family saint patron’s day (No. 01010) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

In Serbia, Orthodox Christian families celebrate an important holiday in honour of the patron saint, Slava, who is believed to be their protector and provider of welfare. The celebration consists of the ritual offering of a bloodless sacrifice and a feast held for relatives, neighbours and friends. A specially designed candle is lit in the family home, then wine is poured over a Slava cake, prepared and decorated by the host’s wife, which is then cut crosswise, rotated and broken into four parts and lifted up. During the ritual, thanks are given to the saint and prayers are said for prosperity. The cutting is performed by the host and the oldest or most important guest and other family members. The feast then begins with the ceremonial drinking of wine, eating and a toast expressing wishes for health, fertility and well-being of the family and guests. Knowledge related to the Slava is passed down in families, with women playing an important role in transmitting knowledge concerning the performance of rituals, their meaning and purpose. The Slava feast reinforces social relations and plays an important role in establishing and maintaining dialogue in multi-ethnic and multi-confessional areas.

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

R.1:   Passed down through generations particularly within families, the Slava celebration provides the community of practitioners with a sense of well-being, identity and continuity;

R.2:   Inscription of the element on the Representative List could contribute to increasing visibility and raising awareness of the intangible cultural heritage, while promoting dialogue among communities and encouraging human creativity;

R.3:   Past and future safeguarding measures involving communities, groups, public bodies and media are realistic and well described;

R.4:   Representatives of families, groups, organizations and some public institutions have been involved in the nomination process and the community provided its free prior and informed consent;

R.5:   The element is included in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage maintained by the National Committee for Intangible Cultural Heritage.

  1. Inscribes Slava, celebration of family saint patron’s day on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Recalls the importance of using vocabulary appropriate to the spirit of the Convention and avoiding expressions such as ‘authenticity’.