Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 12.COM 11.B.30

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Slovenia has nominated Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti (No. 01278) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti is a Shrovetide custom practised from Candlemas (2 February) to Ash Wednesday. Kurenti practise their rounds through villages and nowadays also through the town of Ptuj. Groups consisting of Kurenti and one or more devils run from house to house, form a circle in the yard and jump around the owners. According to their beliefs, the noisy bell-ringing and brandishing of the wooden stick chase everything evil away and bring happiness to those they visit. Men, women and children are actively involved in all activities associated with the custom. Kurenti normally form groups, and some establish associations. One important bearer is the Federation of Kurenti Associations, which acts as the umbrella organization. The practice helps strengthen interpersonal bonds and is key to the regional identity of the communities concerned. Kindergartens and elementary schools assist in the safeguarding process, and some formal education courses and informal workshops help maintain respect for the practice. Related knowledge and skills are most commonly transmitted within the family, but youngsters also learn from elderly members of the groups they are part of and schools and museums play an important role by organizing activities, workshops and contests.

  1. Decides 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:   Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti encompass several cultural expressions embodied in social practices, performing arts, knowledge concerning nature and traditional craftsmanship. The custom has adapted over time to involve all members of the community (men, women and children), although the element was initially performed only by men. Museums, schools and other educational facilities are involved in the transfer of know-how related to the element. The file clearly indicates that the annual preparations for the event and performances of Kurenti contribute to strengthening interpersonal bonds and regional and local identities.

R.2:   The inscription of the element would raise the general public interest in intangible cultural heritage at the local and national level, and strengthen networks with countries in which similar elements are practised, such as in Croatia and Hungary. The inscription may also contribute to a better understanding of annual customs in general and their seasonal rhythms, since they are related to occurrences that take place at certain periods of a year, such as carnivals. In this regard, the inscription would contribute to the celebration of cultural diversity. Given the highly creative and imaginative nature of the costumes and dances, it would also testify to human creativity.

R.3:   Past and current initiatives taken to ensure the viability of the element include transmission and awareness-raising measures and the provision of financial sources to take care of the premises needed by the bearers for social gatherings, preparations for Shrovetide, and taking care of the Kurenti attires. The federation of Kurenti associations is central to the practice and safeguarding of the element. Through the Ministry of Culture and the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO, the State Party supports the organization of events to raise awareness about intangible cultural heritage and the door-to-door rounds of Kurenti, which has been proclaimed as an expression of intangible heritage of national importance in Slovenia. Likewise, museums and a research centre contribute to safeguarding through various activities. The proposed safeguarding measures comprise research, publications, exhibitions, lectures and training workshops, the organization of symposiums and raising awareness about cultural heritage. In accordance with the Slovene Cultural Heritage Protection Act, mechanisms have been set up to provide financial support for the element. The stakeholders, of both genders, were all actively involved in planning the proposed safeguarding measures and will participate in the implementation process. The communities contribute not only through their enthusiasm and time, but also through their own resources.

R.4:   To prepare for the nomination, an interdisciplinary work group was formed at the local level, consisting of bearers, representatives of the municipalities, museums and the Bistra Ptuj research center. The latter took charge of the application procedure for the national list in 2011. The federation of Kurenti, together with the local museum of Ptuj, proposed nominating the element for inscription on the Representative List in 2015. During all the stages of the preparation, consultations were carried out among the bearers, the Coordinator for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (the Slovene Ethnographic Museum) and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia. Numerous personalized consent letters are available in support of the nomination.

R.5:   Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti was included in the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012, with the active participation of the communities, groups and individuals concerned (such as Kurenti associations, craftspeople organizations, schools and other institutions). The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia has been responsible for maintaining the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2008. The Register is updated on a regular basis and is publicly available via the website link provided.

  1. Inscribes Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the State Party for submitting an exemplary nomination.