Gingerbread craft from Northern Croatia
Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Gingerbread craft from Northern Croatia
The tradition of gingerbread making appeared in certain European monasteries during the Middle Ages and came to Croatia where it became a craft. Gingerbread craftspeople, who also made honey and candles, worked in the area of Northern Croatia. The process of making gingerbread requires skill and speed. The recipe is the same for all makers, utilizing flour, sugar, water and baking soda – plus the obligatory spices. The gingerbread is shaped into moulds, baked, dried and painted with edible colours. Each craftsperson decorates gingerbread in a specific way, often with pictures, small mirrors and verses or messages. The gingerbread heart is the most common motif, and is frequently prepared for marriages, decorated with the newlyweds’ names and wedding date. Each gingerbread maker operates within a certain area without interfering with that of another craftsperson. The craft has been passed on from one generation to another for centuries, initially to men, but now to both men and women. Gingerbread has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Croatian identity. Today, gingerbread makers are essential participants in local festivities, events and gatherings, providing the local people with a sense of identity and continuity.
Decision 5.COM 6.10
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: Gingerbread from Northern Croatia, given as a gift, sold at the market and used as a Christmas decoration, is recognized by the community as its intangible cultural heritage, adapting its traditional functions to today;
- R.2: Its inscription on the Representative List could contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage worldwide and promote respect for human creativity and intercultural dialogue, through analogy with similar culinary practices;
- R.3: Ongoing and planned safeguarding measures reflect the priorities set by the community, and the State is engaged in the process through protective legislation and administrative support;
- R.4: The practitioners participated in defining the measures for continuation of gingerbread craft, including innovative transmission modalities, and granted their free, prior and informed consent to the nomination;
- R.5: Gingerbread craft is inscribed in the Register of Cultural Goods of the Republic of Croatia maintained by the Ministry of Culture.
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