Mesir Macunu festival
Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Mesir Macunu festival
The Mesir Macunu festival of Manisa, Turkey, commemorates the recovery of Hafsa Sultan, mother of Suleiman the Magnificent, who was cured of a disease by the invention of a paste known as mesir macunu. The Sultan then ordered that the paste be disseminated to the public. So, every year from 21 to 24 March, the paste is prepared by a chef and apprentices from 41 fresh spices and herbs according to traditional practice. A team of 14 women wrap the paste in small pieces of paper, and 28 imams and apprentices bless it before scattering the paste from the top of the minaret and the domes of the Sultan Mosque. Thousands of people come from different regions of Turkey to compete to catch the pieces as they fall. Many believe that by so doing their wishes for marriage, work and children will come true within a year. A 45-piece orchestra dressed in traditional clothing perform historical Ottoman music during the preparation of the paste and throughout the festival. Inhabitants of Manisa have a deep emotional attachment to the festival. The strength of tradition creates a strong sense of solidarity among local communities, and the city welcomes guests from almost all regions of Turkey.
Decision 7.COM 11.32
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: Encompassing gastronomy, dances and traditional costumes, the Mesir Macunu festival contributes to the identity and collective memory of the community of Manisa;
- R.2: Inscription of the Mesir Macunu festival on the Representative List could promote intercultural dialogue between different religious communities and ethnic groups, while broadening the visibility and recognition of similar festivities within and outside Turkey;
- R.3: Proposed safeguarding measures focus on broadening promotion, education and dissemination of the festival, and the concerned groups and agencies responsible for implementing and monitoring these safeguarding programs are identified;
- R.4: The nomination was elaborated with the active participation of the practitioners and relevant associations, who provided their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: With the participation of the concerned community, the Mesir Macunu festival was included in 2010 in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, carried out under the authority of the Directorate General of Research and Training of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Inscribes Mesir Macunu festival on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
© Researcher of Folklore working for Ministry of Culture and Tourism
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