Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 12.COM 11.B.33

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey have nominated Spring celebration, Hıdrellez (No. 01284) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Spring Celebration Hıdrellez takes place annually on 6 May, which is recognized as Spring Day, or the awakening of nature. ‘Hidrellez’ is a compound noun derived from ‘Hidir’ and ‘Ilyas’, which are believed to be the protectors of earth and water and the helpers of individuals, families and communities in need of them. To mark this occasion, various ceremonies and rituals connected with nature are performed, guaranteeing the wellbeing, fertility and prosperity of the family and community and protecting livestock and crops for the upcoming year. The element belongs to all participants: families, children, youth, adults, dancers and singers. The rituals have deep-rooted cultural meanings and provide the community with a sense of belonging and cultural identity and an opportunity to strengthen relations. The communities concerned ensure the viability of the element by participating in the Spring Celebration on an annual basis. The complex organization of related events at the local, regional and national levels ensures the wide participation of individuals, groups and communities. The element is recognized as a key part of the cultural identity of the local communities and related knowledge and skills are transmitted within the family and between community members through oral communication, observation, participation and performances.

  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:   Spring celebration, Hıdrellez is celebrated on 6 May to mark the reawakening of nature among different communities in the two submitting States. The element encompasses different aspects and cultural spaces such as rituals, beliefs, performances and games. The main bearers and practitioners of the element comprise both the older and younger generations, including families, children, youth, adults, dancers and singers. The transmission of the element includes family members and groups who have distinct roles in the transmission process, such as organizing rituals, participating in sports competitions, singing songs, cooking special meals and carrying out other cultural practices depending on the specific characteristics of the element practised. Hıdrellez is recognized as part of the cultural identity of the local communities, who learn the specific cultural codes and undertake certain steps and initiation stages, according to their age, gender and marital status. The element also raises awareness about protecting nature. There are various social meanings and functions attached to the element, which include healing, environmental protection and uniting families.

R.2:   The inscription of the element would contribute, in general, to illustrating how different cultures and geographical regions can share similar beliefs and traditions. While the element is already greatly appreciated by the older generation, its inscription could enhance the active participation of youth in such rituals and practices and hence improve their understanding of the value of intangible cultural heritage as part of their cultural identity. The inscription is expected to foster cultural dialogue among people, especially younger generations, whether they are followers of different religions or speak different languages. It would also promote respect for the different symbolic ways in which people connect with nature. The creation of the Mani testifies to human creativity since talent and skill are required to compose and improvise the quatrains carrying specific messages. National and international festivals related to the element also contribute to raising the visibility of intangible cultural heritage at the national and international levels.

R.3:   The file provides a set of comprehensive safeguarding measures involving transmission, research, documentation, awareness raising, capacity building and the protection of cultural spaces. The file clearly demonstrates that the measures have been proposed and carried out with the participation of the communities, groups and individuals concerned, including relevant non-governmental organizations. The Ministry of Culture of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has supported the Hıd Bah Sen Festival and all the activities related to the celebration of Hıdrellez in the Valandovo region for the past thirty-five years. In Turkey, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism plays an active role in supporting the organization of the celebration together with the communities concerned, and provides financial support to the relevant municipalities and non-governmental organizations to this end. The local authorities are also duly involved in the safeguarding measures. The file presents a good list of proposed joint safeguarding measures, which include joint efforts between the two States to produce a documentary film, publish a book, organize an exhibition (including photography, paintings and objects) and undertake comparative research. The file also describes the important role of schools and universities in safeguarding the element in both countries and relevant measures include the introduction of the element into school curricula.

R.4:   The individuals, communities and non-governmental organizations concerned in both States Parties have been involved in all stages of the nomination process. This includes beginning the initiative, providing the necessary documents and preparing the nomination proposal, which in turn further inspired more local communities to take a serious approach to the transmission of the element. Evidence of the free, prior and informed consent of the related communities in both countries is duly provided, and as an event that is open to the public, irrespective of the age, gender and social status of participants, it does not have any customary restrictions.

  1. Further decides that, on the basis of the information provided by the submitting States to the Committee at its present session concerning the participation of the communities in the inventorying process and the periodicity of its updating in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is satisfied:

R.5:   In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the element was included under the Exceptionally Important Category of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Macedonia in 2011. It was also added to the National List of Protected Cultural Goods, which is held at and regularly updated by the Cultural Heritage Protection Office within the Ministry of Culture. In Turkey, the element was included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage National Inventory of Turkey in 2009, which is maintained and updated twice a year by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Boards jointly established by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, representatives from related institutions and intangible cultural heritage bearers. The communities concerned participated in the inventorying process in both States Parties.

  1. Inscribes Spring celebration, Hıdrellez on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the States Parties about the importance of the participation of communities in safeguarding measures, including attention to gender roles.