Which is your favorite ICH element from the Republic of Moldova which is not inscribed on UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage?
One of the most interesting and specific ICH elements for the Republic of Moldova and present in many South-Eastern Europe is the celebration of Saint George (Sfântul Gheorghe in the Republic of Moldova and Romania). This mythical representation has its origins in the Thracian culture, signifying the God of vegetation, protector of horses and cows and of the sown holdings. In the Christian tradition, Saint George is one of the most venerated saints. His name comes from the Greek „Gheorghios” and means „farmer”. According to the legend, Saint Gheorghe and Saint Dumitru hold the seasons’ keys. With the celebration of Saint Gheorghe (at April 23th or May 6th) the warm season starts and it ends on the celebration of Saint Dumitru. In the folk tradition, Saint Gheorghe is the protector of the green nature, of the cows and sheep. If it rains in this day, it is a sign that it will be a year with rich harvests. Saint Gheorghe marks the beginning of the pastoral year. Before the celebration day, in the evening, the peasants carefully prepare green furrows, cut into a square shape in which willow twigs and spring flowers are inserted. The pillars of the gates are decorated with this small green furrows. Green branches are also placed on the eaves of the stables in order to protect the animals from evil forces and against diseases. This wonderful tradition is still kept in the villages from the Republic of Moldova and Romania.
Which Bulgarian ICH element do you think is the most impressive?
One impressive Bulgarian ICH element is the authentic costume „Zolokriya”. It reflects the specificity, traditional culture and way of life of the Bulgarian people. According to ethnographers, its origins are mainly Slavic, but traces of the clothing of Thracians and Proto-Bulgarians are also found, as well as the clothing of the people with whom the Bulgarians were in contact.
It has some similarities with the traditional blouse with embroidery on the shoulder – a specific element for Romania and the Republic of Moldova which Nomination file was sent this year to the UNESCO Secretariat for examination for including in the UNESCO Representative List of the ICH of the Humanity.
The similarities or the differences between the two countries (Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova) are crucial for strengthening the cultural dialogue?
Because of the historical circumstances, there are many similarities between the culture of the Republic of Moldova and the Bulgarian one. We have some common traditions, celebrations and representations. The Bulgarian communities from the Republic of Moldova still keep alive their traditions and practices and the Moldovan authorities encourage the local small communities to preserve and to promote their traditions. Bulgarian communities participate with exhibitions and art performances at the cultural national events organized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research, such as The National Day of the Traditional Costume, The National Carpet Fair, European Heritage Days etc. Those cultural events are an opportunity for strengthening the cultural dialog and a way to encourage the cultural diversity.
The inscription of the Cultural Practices Associated to the 1st of March (2017) in the UNESCO Representative List, a common element for the Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Romania, the workshops organized by ethnographic museums in both countries in order to promote the Martenitsa/Mărţişor, are another way to celebrate the cultural dialogue.
Is culture important for the international relationships of the Republic of Moldova?
The culture has an essential role for the international relations of the Republic of Moldova. The most important objectives of the Republic of Moldova’s cultural diplomacy is the development of the relations with other countries, the promotion of the national traditions and values and the consolidation of our country’s image in the international context.
The participation of the Republic of Moldova at the UNESCO forums, the promotion of the elements inscribed in the UNESCO Lists represent one of our priorities. Through the activities organized abroad, we invite people to discover our country and our traditions. Because of the pandemic of COVID-19, all the big cultural institutions organize online events in foreign languages for the international audience.
What policies should be implemented in the South-East European region in order to promote ICH and its values among the young people?
The establishment of regional inventories of common ICH elements could be an interesting idea to be implemented. Many South-Eastern countries share a wide range of cultural elements and the promotion of the cultural similarities could increase the dialogue between countries. The development of the online platforms that present the diversity of the ICH will arouse the young people interest regarding the discovering of the ICH value.
The facilitation of the international events organization (especially the facilitation of the participants travel) could increase the young people interest toward the ICH.