Periodic reporting on the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Convention provides in Article 29 that States Parties shall submit to the Committee reports on the legislative, regulatory and other measures taken for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in their territories. Current page presents the periodic reports and deadlines of a country: Lithuania (see overview on all States Parties).

Periodic reporting on the implementation of the Convention allows States Parties to assess their implementation of the Convention, evaluate their capacities for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, report on their inventories of intangible cultural heritage and update the status of elements inscribed on the Representative List.

On the implementation of the Convention

Each State Party submits its periodic report to the Committee by 15 December of the sixth year following the year in which it deposited its instrument of ratification.

Report submitted on 15/12/2021 and examined by the Committee in 2022


soon available

Report submitted on 15/12/2017 and examined by the Committee in 2018


Lithuania continues to improve and develop the national legislation for intangible cultural heritage preservation, research and promotion. In 2015 a new recast of the Law of National Heritage Products (2007) was adopted. The Law defined a system of stimulating and supporting traditional craftsmen. It contributed to developing the field of traditional crafts in general. The Law set up series of measures aiming to facilitate working conditions for craftsmen, to promote craftsmenship through training programmes and to reinforce the network of traditional crafts’ centres. It also contributed to awareness raising among communities, their perception of intangible cultural heritage, its value and the need for its safeguarding.
In 2016 a new recast of the Law on the Principles of State Protection of Ethnic Culture was adopted. It incorporated the reference to the 2003 Convention and reinforced the role of the Council for the Protection of Ethnic Culture as consulting body. The Law also incorporated an annual national system of awarding (J.Basanavičius Award) offered for the research and creativity in the field of intangible cultural heritage.
The Law on the Song and Dance Celebrations (2007) is one of the most important legal measures ensuring the preservation of the multinational element inscribed on the Representative List at national level. The Programmes for the Song and Dance Celebration’s Safeguarding and the Action plans, as stipulated by the Law, contributed to ensuring the organisational process of events of such a big scale.
In 2011 the Programme for Safeguarding the Products of the National Heritage, its Market and Development of Traditional Crafts for 2012-2020 was adopted. The Programme determined series of measures focused on an effectiveness of the training system of traditional crafts, its representation and manifestation in Lithuania and abroad, a creation of beneficial environment for crafters.
In 2013 the Lithuanian Council for Culture reinforced the Programme of Traditional Culture by supporting various initiatives related to the Lithuanian elements inscribed on the Representative List as well as the Programme of Amateur Arts related to intangible cultural heritage. Many projects and initiatives were implemented with a view to foster a non-formal transmission and capacity-building activities through various training sessions, workshops, ICH camps for all generations. Various conferences, research studies, publications serve as effective means for safeguarding and promotion of intangible cultural heritage.
In 2016 the grants for crafstmen, certified masters and their apprentices as well as for the best crafts centres were established. It contributed to fostering the sector, stimulating the communities and NGOs to be motivated and engaged in preservation of their living traditions, skills and practices.
In 2016 the Council for the Protection of Ethnic Culture launched the Programme for the Research of Ethnic Culture aiming at defining the problems related to safeguarding, preservation and promotion of intangible cultural heritage.
The Programme for the Development of Ethnic Culture (2010-2014) and the Action Plan for the Development of Ethnic Culture (2015-2018) emphasized the need to reinforce activities ensuring the continuity of intangible cultural heritage, as well as safeguarding regional and local peculiarities within the ethnographic regions.
In 2015-2017 Lithuania renewed previously drafted methodology for creating the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage and newly elaborated a system for its creation as informational basis. In 2015 the Ministry of Culture approved the Regulation of the National Inventory and in 2016 an investments’ project for the creation and establishment of such informational basis was adopted. In the end of 2017 the National Inventory was launched and 10 elements were inscribed on the Inventory by the Commission of Intangible Cultural Heritage as consulting body of the Lithuanian National Culture Centre.
An effective ICH awareness raising measure relates to the annual proclamation of the year dedicated to some specific subject or personality by the Parliament. The recent proclamations prove the relevance of the need of ICH safeguarding to the Lithuanian society: 2013 – The Year of Dialects, 2015 – The Year of Ethnographic Regions, 2016 – The Year of Communities, 2017 – The Year of National Costume and Hill-forts. These proclamations promoted ICH and stimulated many ICH safeguarding activities of communities as well as emhasized the role of ICH in the mass media.

Report submitted on 15/12/2011 and examined by the Committee in 2012


The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage and setting national policy. Within the Ministry, the Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre (LFCC) is the main implementing body that pursues related programmes and coordinates the execution of measures for safeguarding and promoting the elements inscribed on the Representative List. The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Science, as well as the LFCC and the Centre of Gifted Children, within the National M.K. Ciurlionis School of Art, are responsible for safeguarding the tradition of song and dance celebrations at the national level. Regionally, the responsible bodies are municipalities and local cultural and educational organizations. The National Commission of Song and Dance Celebrations supervises the process.
There are no educational institutions established for training in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. However, the following Lithuanian universities offer study programmes related to intangible cultural heritage: Vytautas Magnus University; Klaipeda University; and Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. The LFCC also organizes training courses on the importance of intangible cultural heritage and the development of the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Several institutions gather and hold intangible cultural heritage documentation: the Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre (written, film and photograph archives); the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and the Folk Culture Institute (studies on folk culture, customs, integral research on the life and environment of the communities); the Division of Ethnology of the Institute of Lithuanian History (expressions of twenty-first-century spiritual and material culture). In addition, a database on traditional crafts and craftspeople has been created by the Ministry of Agriculture as part of the certification of traditional products, services, plants and animal breeds. All these archives are accessible to the public and the free use of archival materials for scientific and promotional purposes is protected by law. The digitization of archives is being stepped up in order to increase public access. In addition, the documenting institutions publish archival materials such as books, CDs and other publications.
The Inventory of Lithuanian Intangible Cultural Heritage has not yet been established due to financial and legal constraints; the Ministry of Culture will be responsible for it. The Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre is presently developing the methodology, formulating tasks, organizing training programmes for local administrators etc. The criteria have already been determined, as follows: (1) uniqueness, singularity, sustainability; (2) historic, cultural, social, ethnological etc. values; (3) artistic value; mastery of skills and performance; (4) viability, safeguarding of cultural, economic and social contexts as well as primal function; (5) inherence, local and regional peculiarities, marks of historic and cultural tradition; (6) scope of tradition, realization (number of pieces performed, produced, created, geographic coverage), complexity of phenomenon or element (number of safeguarded integral, syncretic aspects); (7) means of transmission, succession, dissemination; and (8) risk of extinction. The Inventory will include the following: a list of forms, genres, skills and techniques; a list of events (feasts, celebrations, rites, fairs, festivals etc.); a list of spaces of traditional culture; a list of performers, masters and bearers (persons); a list of performers and bearers (groups, communities); and a compendium of archives, depositories, collections, artefacts, objects and publications). Communities and related non-governmental organizations have taken part in developing the methodology for selecting intangible cultural heritage elements and completing the files of the elements concerned. They will also submit proposals for the inscription of intangible cultural heritage elements on the inventory; some 30 files have been completed thus far.
Recognition of, respect for and enhancement of intangible cultural heritage are promoted through various measures. Notably, all the main national events integrate intangible cultural heritage into their programmes and intangible cultural heritage has been widely disseminated through newspaper articles and internet sites. National radio and television has broadcast information and discussions on intangible cultural heritage and directly broadcast the song and dance celebrations.
The formal educational system previously pushed intangible cultural heritage to the peripheries of the curriculum, with the exception of some distinct fragments of verbal folklore, music and crafts. Moreover, many teachers have been trained in formal ‘academic’ arts and find it difficult to value intangible cultural heritage as a subject of teaching. Nowadays, the educational programmes of pre-school and primary schools include folk songs and music as well as basic teaching of traditional crafts. There are also after-school activities, workshops and artistic groups, where skills and knowledge related to intangible cultural heritage are communicated and strengthened. Secondary-school children learn about intangible cultural heritage through non-formal educational programmes and almost 10% of Lithuanian schoolchildren take part. A new Programme of Ethnic Culture in Educational Institutions is being developed to integrate the teaching of intangible cultural heritage into all disciplines. Cultural institutions – cultural centres, museums etc. – arrange training sessions that transmit knowledge and skills from tradition bearers to the younger generation. More than 2,500 educational events and 200 camps take place annually to introduce young people to traditional music and singing. Traditional dancing schools have also been established in Vilnius, Siauliai, Panevezys and Kaunas. A centre of traditional crafts has been founded in Prienai. Tradition bearers take part in the educational programmes of museums, other cultural institutions, youth camps, folk camps, and encounters with communities.
International cooperation focuses on sub-regional cooperation between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, particularly as regards the Baltic song and dance celebrations. All three States Parties periodically arrange meetings to exchange experiences and thus better contribute to the successful organization of the celebrations, as well as to discuss organizational achievements and problems. A series of joint conferences has been organized on various aspects related to the element with the participation of specialists, creators, organizers and administrators. Another regional activity is the joint initiative of the international folklore festival ‘Baltica’ and exchanges of folk groups, performers, craftsmen and specialists.
Lithuania reports here on three elements on the Representative List: Cross-crafting and its symbolism (incorporated in 2008, having previously been proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001); Baltic song and dance celebrations (also incorporated in 2008, together with Estonia and Latvia, after being proclaimed a Masterpiece in 2003); and Sutartines, Lithuanian multipart songs (2010). Cross-crafting is protected by a law for the safeguarding of tangible cross-crafting heritage and safeguarding responsibilities are assigned to the holders of the crosses, i.e. the proprietors of homesteads, parishes and communities. Nevertheless, the continuity of cross-crafting rituals is uncertain because of the changing demographic structure of rural areas. These changes are due to increased secularization and the fact that the role of tradition bearers has been transferred from the larger community to the cross-crafters themselves. About 50 performers’ groups keep the Sutartines tradition alive and youth transmission does seem to be occurring in the context of annual, familial and community festivities. Formal musical education in schools is mostly focused on harmony and homophonic music styles and so does not prepare the pupils to understand or appreciate this polyphonic musical form. However, Sutartines training centres are being prepared in cooperation with the municipalities of Svencionys, Kupiskis and Birzai. The main threats perceived for the Celebrations are: changes in the consciousness of individuals, a movement towards consumerism, and the predominance of modern culture as a result of globalization.