National list of ICH

Tablica upamiętniająca wpis na Krajowa listę niematerialnego dziedzictwa kulturowego

From generation to generation

14 February 2018. The Minister of Culture and National Heritage inscribed the Corpus Christi Procession with the tradition of flower carpets in Spycimierz on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage . On the list maintained by the National Heritage Institute in October 2021, there were 49 customs, traditions, and rituals from Poland.

What is intangible heritage? By ratifying in 2003. UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003, Poland undertook to inventory manifestations of this heritage. In accordance with the Convention, intangible heritage is understood as:

traditions and oral transmissions, including language as a vehicle of intangible cultural heritage

  • performing arts
  • customs, rituals, and festive rites
  • knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
  • skills associated with traditional crafts.

Ceremonial reception of the decision

On 22 October 2018, representatives of the Spycimierz community received the decision of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage to enter the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. This took place during the Ceremonial Gala of Intangible Cultural Heritage at the Stanisławski Theatre in the Royal Łazienki Park in Warsaw.

During the Gala, ministerial decisions to enter the List were received by representatives of the depositaries of fifteen traditions. During the ceremony, Magdalena Gawin, Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage stressed that traditions, rituals, songs, dances, and crafts build a sense of identity and the Polish state will support folk culture and its creators.

On the stage of the Stanisławowski Theatre the President of the Parish Association, Maria Pełka, and the former parish priest in Spycimierz, Wojciech Kaźmierczak, who initiated the efforts to enter the national list, were thankful for the prestigious distinction. They were accompanied by member of the Municipality Council Jolanta Ilska, village administrator Stanisław Pełka, the journalist Andrzej Godlewski and Beata Czyszek from the Uniejów Town Hall.

UNESCO list

At the international level, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) maintains two lists: The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and the Register of Good Practices. The former lists 584 items from 131 countries, including two from Poland – Nativity scene (szopka) tradition in Kraków and Tree beekeeping culture (jointly with Belarus).

On 30 March this year, Professor Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage, on behalf of the depositaries, submitted an application entitled “The tradition of flower carpets for the Corpus Christi processions” for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The application also covers the tradition of laying floral carpets in four villages in the Opole region – Klucz, Olszowa, Zalesie Śląskie, and Zimna Wódka.

An editorial team headed by the Minister’s Counsellor Joanna Cicha-Kuczyńska worked on the application. First, a version in Polish was drafted and sent to the Council for Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. After receiving a positive opinion, the document was completed and translated into English. At the same time, work was underway on adapting a film directed by Janusz Tatarkiewicz for the purposes of the application. An essential part of the documentation was the prior, free and informed consent of the Spycimierz community to submit the application. Its content was consulted on an ongoing basis during meetings attended by representatives of the inhabitants of Spycimierz – Maria Pełka, president of the Parish Association ‘Spycimierz Corpus Christi’, Jolanta Ilska, member of the Municipality Council, and Stanisław Pełka, the village administrator. The mayor of Uniejów, Józef Kaczmarek, also participated in the consultation meetings, informing about the activities of the Commune for the safeguarding of the heritage.

The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity has been run by UNESCO since 2003. Our application in English underwent formal verification and then a long process of evaluation by an international group of experts. On November 15, 2021, the application received a positive review from the Evaluation Body. It opened the way for formal approval of the entry at the 16th Intergovernmental Session of UNESCO on 14-18 December 2021. The entry will be open to similar traditions from other countries.

Community Archive of Spycimierz

Community of the Spycimierz parish and the staff of the Spycimierz Corpus Christi Centre work together to create a unique archive of photographs, artefacts, recordings and films

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