Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
null

null

Ratings: (0)|Views: 1 |Likes:
Published by api-25206923

More info:

Published by: api-25206923 on Mar 30, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

03/30/2010

pdf

text

original

 
 
USL09 - No. 00314 - page 1
CONVENTION FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OFTHE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGEINTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE FOR THESAFEGUARDING OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGEFourth sessionAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates28 September to 2 October 2009Nomination for inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List in 2009(Reference No. 00314)A.
S
TATE
(
S
)
 
P
 ARTY
(
IES
):
 
LatviaB.
N
 AME OF ELEMENT
:
 
Suiti cultural spaceC.
 C
OMMUNITY
(
IES
),
GROUP
(
S
)
OR
,
IF APPLICABLE
,
INDIVIDUAL
(
S
)
CONCERNED
:The Suiti
 
is a small Catholic community in the Protestant (Lutheran) western part of Latvia. In the course of time, religious differences have led to development of a strongsense of identity which has helped create and preserve a unique cultural heritage. Todaythis heritage is a mixture of old cultural elements, some of which date back to the pre-Christianity period, and religious traditions which have blended with modern lifestyles.Today the Suiti
 
Cultural Space covers 400 square kilometers. It is inhabited by around2000 persons of Suiti ancestry - down from 10,000 at the beginning of the 20
th
century.
D.
B
RIEF TEXTUAL DESCRIPTION OF THE NOMINATED ELEMENT
:The Suiti Cultural Space historically has developed as a complex cultural phenomenon,diverse in both content and its manifestations. Today the Suiti
 
community stronglyrecognizes elements of this heritage as a significant part of their identity and lifestyle. Thesynthesis of pre-Christian traditions and religious rituals has created a unique blend of intangible cultural heritage in the Suiti community.The Suiti Cultural Space can be described by a number of distinct features, such as vocaldrone singing performed by Suiti women, wedding traditions, colorful traditionalcostumes, the Suiti language, local cuisine, religious traditions, celebrations of the annualcycle, a remarkable number of folk songs, dances and melodies recorded in thiscommunity. Old-fashioned extended family structures are still common here like differentcustoms, traditions and unwritten rules.The origins of vocal drone singing performed by Suiti women are believed to pre-dateChristianity. Due to their ancient origin, Suiti
 
wedding rituals are very different from whatis today considered Latvian wedding traditions. Wearing of traditional costumes isgradually coming back. The Suiti appreciate their difference and the importance of beingpreservers of a unique heritage inherited from previous generations with an obligation topass it on to the generations to come.
Original: English
 
USL09 - No. 00314 - page 2
 
E.
B
RIEF STATEMENT OF THE VIABILITY OF THE ELEMENT
,
ITS NEED FOR SAFEGUARDING AND THEPROPOSED SAFEGUARDING MEASURES
:The main pre-condition for safeguarding the Suiti Cultural Space is the community itself.The existence of the old families and local practitioners of old traditions and rituals,support on state and municipal levels, as well as general improvement of economicconditions to decrease outward migration of the younger generation are significantaspects. Only the young can carry on the unique values of the Suiti intangible heritage.Prior to World War II, the Suiti Cultural Space flourished in its unique diversity. Thesituation changed after the Soviet occupation in 1940. Deportations, the war, emigration,deportations again, collectivization, nationalization of land and property - all these factorsnegatively influenced the community. Many centuries old farms ± the cradles of Suiticulture - were destroyed, property seized and their owners deported. The role andauthority of the church was intentionally destroyed. Due to the fact that the Suiti lifestylewas different from that of the surrounding regions, they were often portrayed asuneducated, backward and simply under-developed people. In the 1950s, someenthusiasts started trying to preserve the Suiti intangible cultural heritage in folk groups.But they were small-scale efforts. The number of people, who knew Suiti customs andtraditions and actively practised them on a daily basis, dramatically decreased during theSoviet period (1940-1991).Taking into account the fact that currently only a few people ± all of them over 60 - have agood knowledge of the elements of the Suiti
 
intangible cultural heritage, safeguardingmeasures are aimed at urgent recording and transfer of this knowledge to the younger generation. However, these efforts will never bear fruit if all the young Suiti will continueleaving their region due to unfavourable employment and living conditions. Therefore,safeguarding measures are also proposed to start improving economic conditions in thecommunity.
1.
 I
DENTIFICATION OF THE ELEMENT
 
1.a.
N
 AME OF ELEMENT
:
 
Suiti cultural space
1.b.
O
THER NAME
(
S
)
OF THE ELEMENT
,
IF ANY
:
 
Suitu zeme
(Suiti land)
1.c.
 I
DENTIFICATION OF THE COMMUNITY
(
IES
),
GROUP
(
S
)
OR
,
IF APPLICABLE
,
INDIVIDUAL
(
S
)
 CONCERNED AND THEIR LOCATION
:The Suiti is a small ethno-confessional (Catholic) group of Latvians in predominantlyProtestant Western Latvia. Due to religious differences that existed here for over 375years, the Suiti community has created, accumulated and largely preserved a uniqueintangible cultural heritage. Some elements of this heritage predate the advent of Christianity to this region and bears imprints of not just early Curonians (WesternLatvians), but also of the almost extinct Fenno-Ugric Livonians, as well as the Polish andGerman communities, which once flourished in this area.Still today the borders of the Suiti homeland very much resemble the borders of the vonSchwerin family¶s property in the 17
th
century. It was back then, when the landowner decided to convert to Catholicism, taking with him also his peasants. The Catholic faithwas the one that over time created this conservative environment within which, like in alive museum, a unique intangible cultural heritage has survived until the present time.This has traditionally been a rural area rich in forests and dotted with isolated farms. Inthe beginning of the 20
th
century, the total population of the Suiti community here waseven up to 10,000 people, of which only about 2000 remain today. The main reason for this decline is economic migration, mostly of young people, to towns, cities and
 
 
USL09 - No. 00314 - page 3
sometimes also abroad. Today a lot of persons of Suiti origin live in the neighboringtowns of Ventspils, Liepja, Kuldga, as well as, increasingly, in the capital city of Riga,where they gradually lose their unique cultural identity. An isolated lifestyle and ongoing struggle with a harsh environment, as well as thepressures of assimilation are often mentioned as main causes for such well-known traitsof the Suiti as: individualism, stubborness, straight talk and sometimes a bit rough senseof humor. Many of the old farms have existed here for several centuries, and theyrepresent real cradles and fortresses of the Suiti cultural heritage. It is very common inthis area that farms have belonged to the same family for many generations.The Suiti have succeeded to preserve their identity over centuries. This tiny community isclosely interknit by family ties. When the Suiti start discussing their ancestors, it is verylikely that they will find some common relatives. Even today a cultural distinctness alongconfessional lines still can be sensed in the local population of the Suiti homeland area.Maybe due to this reason the tiny Suiti community has not yet been assimilated and hasfor so long preserved a unique heritage, which can make a noticeable contribution to theintangible heritage of not just Latvia and Europe but the whole world.
1.d.
 G
EOGRAPHIC LOCATION AND RANGE OF THE ELEMENT
:The Suiti Cultural Space covers an area of 400 square kilometers in the western part of Latvia. On one side it borders the Baltic Sea, but on other three sides ± the neighboringProtestant areas. The distance from the East to the West is about 24 kilometers, but fromthe North to the South - 28 kilometers. The coastline border is around 14 kilometers long.The highest point is
a
alns
- 112 meters above the sea level. The distance to Riga,the capital of Latvia, is 180 kilometers. To recognize and preserve the uniqueness of thelocal environment, four nature reserves have been set up here. Almost a half of the totalland area is covered by forests. The dominant tree species are the pine, birch andspruce ± common trees in Nordic forests.In terms of topography, the Suiti homeland can be roughly divided into three parts. Themost densely populated is the hilly eastern part dotted with farms, ponds, forests,marshlands and beautiful lakes. The western part, closer to the sea, is flat, dominated bylarge tracts of forests, marshlands and natural meadows. A narrow area along thecoastline is again densely populated and, due to its natural beauty, is considered quitevaluable for building large country houses by wealthy inhabitants of Latvian towns andcities.During the 20
th
century some small stretches of historically Protestant areas wereintegrated into the three Suiti municipalities. Some areas, such as the former Adzemanour, were heavily depopulated during the Soviet period. The territory aroundJrkalne, due to its location at the costline, has experienced the largest influx of peoplefrom other parts of Latvia. Alsunga, as a major population center, has also been stronglyinfluenced by such migration.Even though every Suiti village has its own folk group and often also a dance grouptoday, the traditional way of life and knowledge of intangibe cultural heritage has mostlybeen preserved in Alsunga area and some pockets of Basi. In Jrkalne area much moreof the unique Suiti cultural environment has been already lost due to the recent influx of people.In the neighboring Protestant areas in the South and Southwest of the Suiti CulturalSpace, elements of the traditional
 
Suiti costume, dialect and cuisine were found in thepast. Due to the fact that these territories have mostly lost their intangible culturalheritage, nowadays it has only a historical meaning.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->