- Takes note that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Afghanistan have nominated Yaldā/Chella (No. 01877) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
Yaldā/Chella refers to a traditional celebration of the sun and the warmth of life. Practiced in Iran and Afghanistan, the event takes place on the last night of autumn, when families gather at the houses of elders and sit around a table adorned with a series of symbolic objects and foods: a lamp to symbolize light, water to represent cleanliness, and red fruits such as pomegranates, watermelons, beetroots, jujube and grapes to symbolize warmth. Broth, sweets, dried fruits and nuts that are used specifically for the occasion are also set on the table and consumed during the gathering. Activities range from reciting poetry and storytelling to playing games and music and giving gifts to new in-laws, brides and children. The event celebrates cultural identity, nature, respect for women, friendship, hospitality, cultural diversity and peaceful coexistence. It is transmitted informally within families, although radio and television programmes, publications, social media and educational materials have also played an important role in transmitting the practice in recent years. Events, conferences, trainings, workshops and awareness-raising activities carried out by research centres, NGOs, cultural organizations and educational institutes have also had a significant impact on the proper transmission of the element to future generations.
- 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 element is a celebration on the occasion of the last night of autumn that includes reciting poems, playing indoor games, storytelling, listening to or playing music, singing and giving gifts to new in-laws, brides and children. The bearers of the element are Iranians and Afghans of all genders, ages and ethnicities. The element is transmitted in a non-formal way through radio and television programmes, training programmes, newspapers, journals, publications, educational materials published in virtual media and social networks, technical events and conferences. The element has deeply-rooted rituals amongst its bearers and practitioners in both Iran and Afghanistan; it includes many symbols such as the dominance of light over darkness symbolized by the rising of the sun. The element is associated with culture and history, and promotes diversity and mutual respect, a culture of peace, and solidarity.
R.2: At the local level, inscription will make local communities more attentive to nature and other dimensions of intangible cultural heritage associated with nature and the universe. At the national level, it will highlight the importance of identity through cultural diversity and the roles of women, girls and children in intangible cultural heritage. At the international level, inscription will increase awareness about the need to foster and safeguard cultural diversity and understanding of the significant roles that women, girls and children play in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. Inscription will also increase dialogue among various religious and ethnic groups, and promote peace through cultural commonalities.
R.5: In Iran, the element is included on the National Representative Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is maintained by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts. The National Council for Inscription of Intangible Cultural Heritage holds meetings once every two months. When elements are approved by the Council and the related minister, they are inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage National Inventory List. In Afghanistan, the element is included on the Afghanistan Intangible Cultural Heritage National Inventory List, which is maintained by the Ministry of Information and Culture and updated annually. The inventories of the element in both countries were drawn up with the participation of local communities, groups, bearers and practitioners, as well as individuals.
- Further considers that based on the information provided by the States Parties to the Committee at its present session, the following criteria for inscription on the Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity are satisfied:
R.3: In section 3.a(i), the file describes the roles of communities and practitioners in their practice of the element. The file lists many activities under the proposed safeguarding measures. Considering the received documents, it is expected that inscription of the element will strengthen the safeguarding of the element and facilitate even more capacities for the element. The file lists various institutions and organizations, and how these communities, groups and individuals were involved in planning the proposed safeguarding measures and how they will be involved in the implementation of such measures. Further encourages the States Parties, when submitting nomination files in the future, to ensure that information is included in its proper place.
R.4: The file explains that the Anthropological Research Centre of the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism of Iran was involved in the inventorying of the element and preparations for the nomination file. The centre collected information from cultural activists and practitioners. In addition, the file states that researchers, cultural groups and local communities from the two countries cooperated in a perfect manner, and it provides some explanations of these collaborations and of the contributions of the communities. The file describes the element as being widely celebrated by all people of Iran and Afghanistan, there were documents and letters of consent submitted by the submitting States, which proves the said fact. Considering the circumstances of their region, it is encouraging that the two submitting States have jointly submitted the nomination of the element.
- Decides to inscribe Yaldā/Chella on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;