- Takes note that Azerbaijan has nominated Nar Bayrami, traditional pomegranate festivity and culture (no. 01511) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
Nar Bayrami is an annual festival in October/November in Azerbaijan’s Goychay region that celebrates the pomegranate and its traditional uses and symbolic meaning. Pomegranate culture is a set of practices, knowledge, traditions and skills related to the cultivation of the fruit, which is used not only in a range of culinary contexts, but is also referred to in crafts, decorative arts, myths, storytelling and other creative outlets. The element is linked to local agriculture and to the farmers and individuals in rural communities that grow and collect the fruit. These participants have an understanding of environmental characteristics and harvesting techniques. The fruit enjoys great visibility in society as both the pomegranate and Nar Bayrami perform a range of cultural and social functions – everything from its use in traditional meals to being cited in poetry. Symbolically, the pomegranate is associated with long-term productivity, abundance and is considered as a carrier of energy. Local legends viewed it as a symbol of love and passion, while religious people saw it as symbolizing eternity. The annual celebration displays pride for this festivity and culture related to the fruit and encourages active exchange and communication among communities and visitors to the festivity, a time to highlight local nature and culture.
- 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 pomegranate and the Nar Bayrami festival have a strong symbolic meaning for the inhabitants of Goychay, its surroundings and, indeed, the whole country. The submitting State has provided a clear description of the element as a set of practices, knowledge, traditions and skills related to the cultivation and harvesting of the pomegranate, taking place every year in October/November. Transmitted from generation to generation mainly within families, the Nar Bayrami festivity and pomegranate culture in general bear a spirit of solidarity, tolerance, respect and hospitality. The communities concerned consider that the internal structure of the pomegranate symbolizes unity, integrity, diversity, dynamism and perfection.
R.2: As the element is closely linked to local agriculture, the inscription will raise awareness about other elements of local traditional culture based on agricultural practices. At the national level, it will raise awareness about other practices of intangible cultural heritage that are part of the identity of communities in Azerbaijan and bear a strong symbolic significance for them. According to the nomination, at the international level the inscription will demonstrate and promote the strong link between agriculture, health, food and intangible cultural heritage, in the context of the global agenda for sustainable development.
R.3: The nomination describes a wide range of safeguarding measures, including support for transmission, building centers for transmission and establishing awards for those who contribute to safeguarding efforts. The file also sets out many proposed safeguarding measures to ensure transmission, documentation, research and visibility, to develop partnerships and networks, and to ensure the sustainability of the cultivation practices. The expected impact, stakeholders and budget of these measures are clearly specified. The nomination states that the communities and practitioners of the element have reviewed the proposed safeguarding measures in their meetings with all the stakeholders concerned. The Goychay Municipality and relevant non-governmental organizations approved the measures during the final review meeting.
R.4: The preparation of the nomination was initiated in 2016 by the Goychay Municipality and the Goychay Executive Authority, which have provided wide support to Nar Bayrami and the safeguarding of pomegranate culture. A coordination group was established to initiate the process of community consultation and plan for the preparation of the nomination file with a view to submitting it in 2016. The coordination group included representatives of communities of farmers, experts, the municipality and the non-governmental organizations directly involved in the cultivation and use of the pomegranate, as well as active participants of Nar Bayrami.
R.5: The element was included in the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2016. According to the nomination, the inclusion of the element on the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Azerbaijan was prepared with the participation of the communities and non-governmental organizations concerned and the local municipalities of Goychay and other regions. Elements for inclusion on the Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage are proposed and updated on the basis of proposals from the communities, non-governmental organizations and practitioners concerned through the regional departments of the Ministry of Culture. The updating is carried out every three years.
Decides to inscribe Nar Bayrami, traditional pomegranate festivity and culture on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
Commends the State Party for a well-prepared nomination file that can serve as a good example of how the inscription of an element on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity can contribute to ensuring the visibility and awareness of the significance of intangible cultural heritage in general;
Reminds the State Party of the importance of ensuring the most active possible participation of the communities concerned in every aspect related to the design of the safeguarding measures as well as in the preparation of the nomination file in general.