ICIP says Ukrainian borscht needs protection

The forced migration of Ukrainians due to the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation threatens a crisis for the intangible heritage of Ukraine.

According to an Ukrinform correspondent, Vlada Litovchenko, a member of the Expert Council on Intangible Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, said this at the opening of an exhibition of intangible heritage in a skansen in Pirogovo.

“Now, in 2022, Ukrainian borscht needs urgent protection. The war forced the carriers of intangible culture to move, which is why the recipe is lost, at the same time people are forced to adapt to foreign products. Along with this, the price of the food basket in Ukraine is going up, respectively, the recipe may change, since not all people can afford, for example, to buy meat or a full collection of vegetables. These are the facts that the war dictated to us,” she said.

Photo: Volodymyr Tarasov, Ukrinform
Photo: Vladimir Tarasov, Ukrinform

Lytovchenko stressed that the Ukrainian culture, representing “a nation of brothers and sisters who each defend our state on their own front,” is quite rich, which is confirmed by the National List of Elements of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Ukraine, which now contains 50 items and is actively replenished.

“Only at the end of June, this list included 21 elements, and at the beginning of July – three more: Volyn straw weaving, Crimean Tatar “chiberek” and Transcarpathian plum lekvar,” she said.

Litovchenko also stressed that, despite the painstaking process of registering elements of non-material culture, one can feel the response and interest from the society, which seeks to take part in a kind of cultural competition for the representation of its own region.

“I like that there is a response from the communities. This is very good, because it unites us, and also gives the society an impetus for development and self-presentation. As with the plum lekvar – do you know how many comments there were? But they completely redid the registration card in two weeks, took into account all the comments,” Litovchenko said.

The activist recalled that the path of an intangible element to the National List and further to UNESCO is difficult, and the main work is entrusted to the person, community or organization that makes proposals.

Read also: Ukraine agreed With UNESCO on cooperation in the preservation of cultural heritage

“The Expert Council considers applications that are submitted twice a year – until April 15 and October. Those that are correctly filled out, the council recommends to the Ministry, hoping for further approval. The next step is to be included in the National Representative List. Further, it is submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for consideration. It’s a very painstaking job,” she explained.

That is why, according to Lytovchenko, the representativeness of the region in the National List, as well as in the UNESCO list, is the merit of local governments and residents who are not indifferent to their heritage. At present, the Odessa region, Bukovina, Ternopil region, Rivne region, Chernivtsi and Lviv regions are most clearly represented.

During the event, the organizers emphasized that an exceptional role in the preservation of intangible heritage is also assigned to cultural figures who “are obliged to tell, popularize movable and immovable cultural heritage, which was demonstrated, in particular, by the folklore groups Gromitsa and Medunitsa under the leadership of Evgeniy Pikhtina. The invited guests sang the Cossack songs of the Dnipropetrovsk region, which are on the UNESCO heritage list, namely: “Oh, the snow fell on the bank”, “Oh, the river is near the ford”, “Oh, where is the way to lie – the road?”.

Photo: Volodymyr Tarasov, Ukrinform
Photo: Vladimir Tarasov, Ukrinform

Pikhtin also said that he has been engaged in the preservation of the vocal elements of non-material culture since his student years spent at the Kiev University of Culture and Arts. There he created an ensemble of folk songs and everyday dance “Gromitsa”, which performed Dnepropetrovsk songs. According to the singer, the war prompted him to create another team.

“Today I work at the Zhytomyr Philharmonic. Richter as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Polesye Academic Song and Dance Ensemble “Lyonok” named after A. I. Slyoty. And during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I thought that we need to create another team so that the culture lives, flourishes and multiplies – this is how the Polissya “Medunitsa” was born, – he said.

Read also: Ukrainian borsch made to the UNESCO heritage list

At the same time, events to preserve the culture of cooking borscht recreated the stars of Ukrainian cinema and theater as part of the ACT LOTS charity auction, which took place at the Open Air Museum.

Photo: Volodymyr Tarasov, Ukrinform
Photo: Vladimir Tarasov, Ukrinform

As is known, the Museum in Pirogovo organized a presentation of intangible heritage at the event “Blessed Ukraine: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage” during the celebration of the Day of Ukrainian Statehood.

In particular, five elements were introduced. Among them are the Petrikovskaya painting by Evdokia Klyupa, Fyodor Panko, Zinaida Shtaniy and other outstanding masters; Cossack songs from the Dnepropetrovsk region, performed by the Medunitsa and Gromitsa ensembles. The traditions of Kosovo ceramics are reflected in the unique products of artists: Zaritskaya, Ugrinyuk, Trusik and others. Crimean Tatar national ornament “Ornek” on ceramic and metal utensils, wood products, household items, furniture and carpets. The presentation ended with the preparation of Ukrainian borscht by the stars of Ukrainian cinema and theater as part of the ACT LOTS charity actor’s auction.

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