Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 17.COM 7.B.43

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have nominated Telling tradition of Nasreddin Hodja/ Molla  Nesreddin/ Molla Ependi/ Apendi/ Afendi Kozhanasyr Anecdotes (No. 01705) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Telling Tradition of Nasreddin Anecdotes refers to the social practices and festivals around the telling of anecdotes attributed to Nasreddin, a philosopher and wiseman recognized for his wisdom and humorous analyses and representations of society and life experiences. Although there are slight differences across communities in terms of imagery, character names and stories, the key features are shared as a common heritage in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The anecdotes are transmitted through oral tradition and written sources and have inspired local idioms and proverbs. Many have become classics and are also distributed in printed and visual media and in television programmes prepared for children. Characterized by their wisdom, witty repartees, absurdity and element of surprise, the Nasreddin anecdotes often break with accepted norms, with the narrator finding unexpected ways out of complicated situations and always coming out as the winner by the power of word. The anecdotes have an instructive and entertaining function, and communities use them to enrich conversations, reinforce arguments, persuade others or explain a situation. Municipalities, universities and non-governmental organizations play a vital role in the transmission of the anecdotes, organizing various activities and festivals for their commemoration at local, national and international levels.

  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 element involves social practices, oral traditions and festivals relating to the tradition of telling anecdotes based around Nasreddin. The bearers and practitioners are people of different age groups, genders and backgrounds, who tell and share the anecdotes of Nasreddin. The knowledge of the element is transmitted orally from one generation to another, as well as through formal education curricula, publications, television programmes, animations and the internet. The element carries a social function, as it enhances cultural ties between generations and is practised in family meetings, weddings and cafe sessions. The element has become a common means of communication today and serves as an expression of social memory. The social functions and cultural meanings of the element in each submitting State is elaborated in the file.

R.2:   At the local level, inscription will raise awareness of intangible cultural heritage among local communities, encourage regional cooperation on intangible cultural heritage, and stimulate awareness of the importance of oral traditions and traditional forms of expression and how they contribute to communities' daily lives and cultural identity at the local level. At the national level, inscription will contribute to the creation of new educational programmes and the publication of books, and motivate the development of policy measures and frameworks. At the international level, inscription will encourage more joint initiatives on the safeguarding and transmission of shared heritage and encourage more multinational nominations from the region. Inscription will also encourage practices related to humour and satire, both of which are expressions of human creativity.

R.3:   The communities, NGOs and individuals concerned in the submitting States have been involved in past and current safeguarding projects and activities, including the publication of books and documentaries, awareness-raising activities, research projects, conferences and events. Specific efforts in each of the submitting States and the support of the States Parties was elaborated in the file. Each submitting state has developed proposed safeguarding measures that can be categorized into three areas: (a) identification, research and documentation; (b) promotion and awareness-raising; and (c) transmission of the element. The file indicates that the submitting States will conduct some joint safeguarding efforts and activities at the international level, but these efforts are not elaborated in detail. If the element is inscribed, all submitting States will monitor the element at the national levels and evaluate and monitor the safeguarding measures and the positive and unintended negative effects of inscription. The submitting States are said to be ready to immediately take the necessary measures to address any negative effects. The file further explains that the communities, groups and individuals concerned were involved in planning and implementing the proposed measures, but there was a lack of information about the context and timeline of the communities' involvement.

R.4:   The nomination process started in 2013 at an international seminar on the element and involved discussions concerning the preparation of the multinational nomination file. At the end of the seminar, some countries agreed in principle to the preparation of the multinational nomination file with the wide participation of the communities concerned. Further meetings were held in 2016, 2020 and 2021, with the broad participation of communities and stakeholders. The file also provided details of how the communities concerned in each submitting State were involved in preparing the multinational nomination and proposing safeguarding measures. The file included letters from the communities that practise the element in each of the submitting States. These letters indicated the communities' informed and prior consent to the multinational nomination.

R.5:   The element was included in the various inventories of all submitting States between 2008 to 2019. The details of the organizations involved in maintaining the respective inventories and the frequencies of updating of the inventories are provided in the file. The file also explains that the inventories in the submitting States were developed with the involvement of communities, through interviews, participatory approaches and field work.

  1. Decides to inscribe Telling tradition of Nasreddin Hodja/ Molla Nesreddin/ Molla  Ependi/ Apendi/ Afendi Kozhanasyr Anecdotes on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the States Parties of the importance of ensuring the widest possible participation of the communities concerned in planning and implementing the proposed safeguarding measures.