Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 17.COM 7.b.19

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Jordan has nominated Al-Mansaf in Jordan, a festive banquet and its social and cultural meanings (No. 01849) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Al-Mansaf is a festive dish that is central to Jordan's socio-cultural events. An important and well-known symbol that evokes a deep sense of identity and social cohesion, it is associated with the agro-pastoral lifestyle in which meat and dairy are readily available. Large chunks of sheep or goat meat are boiled with spices in a yogurt sauce and served with rice or sometimes bulgur over a layer of thin bread. The preparation itself is a social event, with cooks discussing common concerns, telling stories and singing. The layers of bread, rice and meat are arranged on a platter and garnished with fried, desiccated almonds. In northern Jordan, fried bulgur balls filled with minced meat are also placed around the dish. The host's relatives carry the platters to the reception hall and the guests sit around them, with five to seven people around each platter. Traditionally, the dish is consumed with the right hand while the left is placed behind the back, but today some people use dishes and spoons. Women generally pass down the recipes and related practices (such as milking the goat or sheep) to their daughters and granddaughters. Culinary institutes and universities also contribute to the dish's transmission.

  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 Al-Mansaf element, with its associated practices and meanings, is a ceremonial dish that is prepared on most occasions in a cooperative atmosphere among the practicing individuals. The element evokes a deep sense of identity, social cohesion and attachment. It is associated with the agro-pastoral lifestyle in which meat and dairy are readily obtainable. The file explains the roles and responsibilities of women, men, children, relatives and neighbours, highlighting the importance of the presence of older community members in the associated rituals. The file also provides information about the transmission of the traditions, skills and meanings associated with the element. The transmission takes place informally through observation and direct participation in the preparation, and formally through institutes, centres, culinary arts universities and the media. The file demonstrates the element's social functions, with its values of appreciating guests, expressing generosity and promoting the principle of equality. The element strengthens the sense of belonging and identity of the communities concerned, as it is a common intangible cultural symbol for Jordanians.

R.2:   According to the file, on the local level, inscription will enhance interest in the intangible cultural heritage elements associated with Al-Mansaf and the appreciation of other cultural elements that are considered ordinary. At the national level, inscription will spread awareness to communities about the diversity of intangible cultural heritage and its importance in establishing social cohesion. At the international level, inscription will encourage sharing of information about agro- pastoral practices and other intangible cultural heritage elements associated with the promotion of values such as hospitality, solidarity, peace and sustainable- development. The file also demonstrates that inscription will encourage dialogue between practicing communities and enhance cultural pluralism among communities with ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.

R.3:   The file provides information on the past and current safeguarding efforts by practitioners and associations. These efforts include exhibitions, promotional efforts, and trainings to transmit associated skills. In addition, the file explains that these efforts were led by the Ministry of Culture, schools and museums, which are involved in safeguarding, promoting, documenting and transmitting the element to future generations. Regarding the proposed safeguarding measures, a comprehensive and progressive five-year plan was developed with the involvement of community groups and concerned parties. These measures include education, documentation and research, promotion and enhancement programmes, as well as safeguarding and protection efforts. The coordination group, which included NGO and community representatives, was involved in developing the proposed safeguarding plan.

R.4:   The file explains that in 2018, the first written request to inscribe Al-Mansaf came from the Path of Civilizations Association, an NGO in central Jordan. This was followed by requests from other NGOs in the northern and southern regions. A coordination group was established with communities representing different regions, NGOs, government entities, researchers and tribal leaders who are supportive of the nomination. Various workshops were held to explain the nomination process and review the materials for the nomination process. Letters of consent were submitted by various NGOs, institutes, communities and tribal Shaikhs, as evidence of support and consent from the communities.

R.5:   The element is listed on the National Inventories, which are maintained by the Heritage Directorate of the Ministry of Culture. Al-Mansaf appears on the inventory individually and in association with other intangible cultural heritage elements. The inventorying of the element involved community members and facilitators of all genders and related NGOs, who provided background information that helped further identify, describe, define, characterize, and distinguish the element from others. The inventory is updated biennially by the Heritage Directorate, with the full involvement of communities, groups, individuals, experts and NGOs.

  1. Decides to inscribe Al-Mansaf in Jordan, a festive banquet and its social and cultural meanings on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the State Party of the importance of ensuring the widest possible participation of the communities concerned in the planning and implementation of safeguarding measures.