Festivity of Saint Blaise, the patron of Dubrovnik
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
The evening before the festivity of Saint Blaise in Dubrovnik, Croatia, as all the church bells in the city ring and white doves are released as symbols of peace, worshippers gather for a ritual healing of the throat to preserve them against illness. On the third of February, the official day of both saint and city, parish banner bearers flow into the city in folk costume for the centrepiece of the festival, a procession attended by bishops, ambassadors, civic leaders, visiting notables and the people of Dubrovnik. The festivity embodies many aspects of human creativity, from rituals to folk songs, from performance to traditional crafts (including the making of the historical weapons fired in celebration). The ritual dates back in some form to at least 1190 and has reinforced a close identification of Dubrovnik’s residents with the city’s patron, Saint Blaise. Over time, the festivity has evolved as Dubrovnik and the world have changed. Each generation adapts it slightly, inspired by its own ideas and needs to make the ritual its own. On Saint Blaise’s day, Dubrovnik gathers not only its residents, but all those who pay respect to tradition and the right to one’s freedom and peace.
Decision 4.COM 13.31
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: The festivity of Saint Blaise, the patron of Dubrovnik is transmitted and recreated by the inhabitants of Dubrovnik, providing them with a sense of identity and continuity and strengthening their solidarity and friendship;
- R.2: The nomination demonstrates the potential for inscription of the element on the Representative List to encourage dialogue and promote cultural diversity, Saint Blaise being associated with ecumenism, openness and tolerance;
- R.3: The nomination demonstrates that the people and authorities of Dubrovnik are committed to safeguarding the festivity of Saint Blaise, the patron of Dubrovnik through a wide range of measures that would ensure its viability;
- R.4: The nomination clearly demonstrates the consent and active participation of all segments of the community (civil society, clergy, local scholars and local authorities), further confirmed by their signed letters and declarations in the video;
- R.5: The element is inscribed in the Register of Cultural Goods of the Republic of Croatia maintained by the Ministry of Culture.
These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website