Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 11.COM 10.B.33

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Tajikistan has nominated Oshi Palav, a traditional meal and its social and cultural contexts in Tajikistan (No. 01191) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The traditional meal known locally as oshi palav (pilaf) is a traditional social practice of communities in Tajikistan recognized as a part of their cultural heritage. Considered an inclusive practice that aims to bring people of different backgrounds together, it is held around the preparation and enjoyment of oshi palav at regular mealtimes, as well as social gatherings, celebrations and rituals. The practice is based on a recipe using vegetables, rice, meat and spices but up to 200 varieties of the dish itself exist. The importance of the social practice to communities in Tajikistan is indicative in sayings such as ‘No Osh, no acquaintance’ or ‘If you have eaten Osh from somebody, you must respect them for 40 years’. Groups of men or women prepare the dish either in their homes or at teahouses while socializing or playing music and singing. Knowledge and skills associated with the practice are transmitted on an intergenerational basis in families, in addition to cooking schools from master to apprentice. Once an apprentice masters oshi palav, the apprentice hosts a dinner for the trainer and guests during which the trainer receives a skull‑cap and traditional dress while the apprentice receives a skimmer (a tool for cooking oshi palav) symbolizing the apprentice’s independence.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

R.1:   The nomination file describes oshi palav, a traditional meal often accompanied by celebrations, rituals and gatherings, as part of the cultural heritage of the people of Tajikistan. It serves to bring people together through reciprocal exchange of the meal, irrespective of age, gender, social background, ethnic or religious background. The bearers and practitioners of the element are cooking masters, as well as the general population of Tajikistan. Three types of transmission mechanisms are described (master-disciple, within families, and in specialized schools). The practice of the element is compatible with human rights instruments. It also serves as a conflict resolution mechanism and promotes mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals;

 R.2:  The file indicates that inscription would increase awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage in everyday life as part of cultural heritage and promote the revival of social practices of other traditional meals and culinary practices, celebrating their creativity and diversity. Inscription would also promote visibility of the element and contribute to making the people in Tajikistan more aware of the importance of intangible cultural heritage in general. Since various groups in the country appreciate oshi palav, inscription would also foster dialogue and respect for cultural diversity;

R.3:   The nomination file indicates that the communities concerned safeguard the element with State support through its continued practice within families, in commercial outlets and at festivals and ceremonies. The submitting State proposes to collaborate closely with non-governmental organizations, communities and individuals concerned in the implementation of further safeguarding measures (academic research and inventory updating; capacity building and publications; involvement of the younger generation; and organizing competitions and conferences). The involvement of communities, groups or individuals in the planning and implementation of the proposed measures appears assured;

R.4:   Representatives from the community concerned and non-governmental organizations, as well as researchers and cultural agents from the Research Institute of Culture and Information extensively participated in the nomination process (defining the scope of the element, fieldwork, public meetings and development of audiovisual materials) and gave their free, prior, and informed consent to the nomination. Evidence is produced, including from cooks and tea house staff, from different parts of the country;

R.5:   The element was included on the Tajik National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014 and the inventory will be updated every four years by the Research Institute of Culture and Information of Tajikistan. The inventory was drawn up with the participation of local communities, groups and individuals.

  1. Inscribes Oshi Palav, a traditional meal and its social and cultural contexts in Tajikistan on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.