November 23, 2019 7:09 pm
Mandorlo in Fiore (Almond Blossom Festival) is an annual spring festival held since 1934 in spring (the period of the blossoming of the almond trees) in Agrigento, Sicily (Italy).
At the 74th edition of the festival, Ms Mahtab Irani from Parzor Foundation represented India to present the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Navroze.
The festival divided into two sections, Tangible and Intangible Heritage were celebrated through the course of 10 days. Navroze, Intangible Heritage was celebrated in the Palacio Congress, Agrigento city on 4 occasions.
The UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Gala Show was held on Tuesday, 5 March 2019. Displaying the table for the first time, the audience consisted of people from across the world – participating country delegations, local residents, officials from UNESCO. It was heartening to know that several local Italian residents not only had heard of Zoroastrianism and Prophet Zarathustra, but had tasted several of the Iranian sweets laid on the table and recognized the table’s roots from Iran. Audience interacting at the table were also taken through the ‘looking into the mirror’ ritual.
On Wednesday, 6 March 2019, Parzor also joined the India delegation for the White Night of UNESCO Heritage Parade. Delegations from every country walk with lit candles through the city square, stressing unity despite cultural differences. Daily footfall of the table often crossed close to 100 people, reaching a maximum of 200 persons.
Navroze was added to the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, when Parzor represented India for the candidature file and won the First Multi-National Candidature award for India. Since then, every year, Parzor has been participating in events to showcase one of India’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Navroze, both within the country and around the world, such as done this year. Today, over a dozen countries have been added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for Navroze, since they have actively revived this original Central Asian tradition.
Concluding the 74th Mandorlo in Fiore, Agrigento, Italy one thing that we take back is that most country participations were by youth groups. This only goes to show that increasingly our youth is the key to carrying forward our cultural heritage. Parzor stresses that the key to the flourishment of intangible cultural heritage lies in getting our youth involved. Parzor has been proud to have kept this bronze age practice flourishing and continues to put all efforts and attempts towards it.