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International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts



CIOFF® is an Official Partner of UNESCO, accredited to the UNESCO ICH Committee. Created in 1970, the duty of CIOFF® is safeguarding, promotion and diffusion of traditional culture and folklore.


CIOFF® President, Mr. Philippe Beaussant, elected as Vice president of the NGO-Liaison Committee 2019-2020

CIOFF® President Philippe Beaussant was elected on January 16, 2019 as Vice President of the NGO UNESCO Liaison Committee for 2019 - 2020. His mandate as President of this committee for the years 2017 – 2018 ended December 2018, reelection was not possible as the President can be elected only once. So CIOFF® is still present in this important committee in Unesco. (Display the following...)


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CIOFF® Greece Newsletter, interview with CRISTIAN BOGGEN VALENCIA, Creator of CIOFF® 50 anniversary logo.

Question: Are you a professional on animation – painting or creating logos or just an amateur?

Answer: Design is my passion, my trade, my world. Each design is the fruit of many ideas, concepts, dedication and effort, in the same way my work as a graphic designer has always been characterized in more than 23 years of profession.

Question: How do you feel from the fact that your creation is now the official logo for the 50th CIOFF® anniversary?

Answer: I am very fortunate to have the chance to create an image that commemorates 50 years of CIOFF® International. This design was a challenge, an exciting challenge, with a lot of responsibility for what CIOFF® means in the world and this design is and will remain in the retina of thousands of people for the celebration of the 5 decades of this beautiful organization.

Question: What were the ideas and the inspiration of the creation? Which was the reason of choosing specific objects to complete the logo? Is there any story to tell with this?

Answer: HERITAGE AS A CONCEPT, My closeness with Folklore and traditional arts as director for 21 years of the Bafca Ballet Folklorico de Carahue (www.bafca.cl) and as director for 19 years of the International Festival of the Araucanía in Chile, helps me understand and visualize a better concept of what is the "culture as heritage" of the people. In this sense, CIOFF is presented as an institution that safeguards heritage, an idea that inspired me and I wanted to stand out. The hardest; that the image, the concept, represents the different continents and identifies CIOFF members. Under that premise I looked for the largest number of icons and elements that represent different cultures; crafts, Flora, fauna, games, utensils, costumes, instruments, architecture, symbology, etc.

Question: What do you wish to CIOFF® for this special year?

Answer: I hope that this celebration of 50 years be a year of reflection of the peoples, that through folklore we will eliminate borders and the brotherhood among peoples will be enhanced.

Date of publication: 19.03.2020

In loving memory of Dr. Dan Ronen - CIOFF® Israel Chairman

Dan Ronen passed away last month, on January 2nd, 2020. Dr. Dan Ronen was chairman of CIOFF® Israel since 1985 and an active member of the organization since 1970. He received a great honor from the CIOFF organization with the award of the Golden Pin. As chairman of CIOFF® Israel he promoted international connections between the Israeli culture and the rest of the world. He acted to preserve Israeli folk dance and ethnic dance groups and encouraged them to participate in international festivals around the world.

Dr. Dan Ronen was well known within the Israeli dance community as well as the international folk dance community. His contribution spans over 70 years in various areas and positions he served. He was one of the founders of Karmiel Dance Festival in 1988. He participated in the steering committee of the festival for 12 years and was the main narrator of the central events. His life story intersects with all significant historical events of the state of Israel and specifically its arts, dance and culture history.
His contribution was very prominent in various fields of Culture and Arts in Israel as the head of the Art and Culture Department of the Ministry of Education, as well as member of boards of "Betzalel" Art School, The Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem, theaters, dance companies, and many more art institutes in Israel.

Dr. Dan Ronen was also an admired lecturer and researcher of folklore, the preservation of folklore, multicultural society and folk dance. In 2010 he wrote many articles as well as a book on folk dance in Israel.

Many different ethnic groups such as the Kurdish and the Moroccan appreciated his contribution and awarded him with special awards. He was also awarded the title of Jerusalem most worthy person and more. He was member of many committees that advanced the Israeli folk dances, Dance in the Education system as well as many other art forms.
In the introduction to the 3rd Karmiel Dance Festival Ronen wrote the opening comment in the program and described the diversity within Israeli dance:
"Dances of the pioneers and the continuing generations, a mix of "Dabke" and the "Dibuk", Yemenite and Pop, Casablanca and Moscow, holiday traditions of now and then… If they ask us, why are we so happy? Maybe the answer is in the words of the Ba'l Shemtov to the Jewish people who were in trouble at the time"to be sad is a sin and to be happy is a commandment"- being happy will help us deal with all our troubles. Maybe another answer is in the words of the Braslav Rabbi: "a person has to dance at least one dance a day either by action or in thought".

Israeli folk dances are us! They have many faces: they represent vitality, strength and questions. They are a dream of returning to nature and simple life, in a very complicated and cruel world. They search for the answer in the Bible and the desert. They represent a whole life of diversity, contradictions between what we sing and what we do, but they also hold "hope that man was created to raise above the ground and not go under it". Dancing might not solve everything but it allows you to dream about everything.

Dan Ronen always appreciated the special unique qualities of Israeli dance and its capability to bring people together. Israeli dance is unique not only by the collection of dance languages but in the cultural phenomenon itself. Maybe one of a kind in the world in its influence and scope. Tens of thousands of dancers, hundreds of dances and performing dance groups. Dances that were created by the influence of the romantic dreams of revival of the Hebrew culture in the last century. They should probably have been a museum exhibit by now, but apparently they are very much alive and are being created even today, and they serve as pleasure for many.
Israeli dances are a blessing to the dancers in the circles that have no beginning or end, blessing to the songs that we sing and dance. Dances and songs are the past, and they are the future, they are reality, and they are the dream! Even now as we think of the future, we need to always remember that without the past there can be no future.
Dan Ronen's legacy and his love for the Israeli culture will remain in our hearts and we will do our best to continue the path he paved for us. The Israeli dance community will forever cherish his endless contribution and commitment to the field of dance in Israel and around the world.

May he rest in peace

Date of publication: 19.03.2020

Turning Living Intangible Cultural Heritage into an Organized Folk Festival on the Example of International Mask festival in Estonia

The objective of folklore movement in Estonia has always been to promote, safeguard and preserve the richness and variety of our local traditions. In lots of cases, our aim is to reintroduce the knowledge about traditional heritage, to guide people and to show them their uniqueness and local specialty.
The International Mask festival is organized by CIOFF Estonia in November, by turns during existing two traditional holidays, on 9th of November (St. Martin Day or Mardipäev) and on 24th of November (St. Catherine Day or Kadripäev).

The highlight of the festival is the eve of the holiday, when people go from door to door, camouflaged as mythical characters or animals and perform certain luck and prosperity giving rituals in houses. This living tradition is still actively celebrated in most towns and villages in Estonia. Our festival´s uniqueness is that we keep most of the activities, folklore performances, in its original, live environment and context. We bring foreign folklore groups in villages on the actual eve of the holiday, in spontaneous situations, to go from door to door together with locals to experience the living heritage. We invite people to sign up online to see how many people still continue the tradition and celebrate the holiday. In Estonia we have decided to organize this festival as a campaign promoting the tradition, that includes in itself schoolings about the traditions and 4 days of festival activities (stage concerts, workshops etc).

Using living tradition to educate people and raise awareness.

Nowadays the functional background of this tradition as well as many other historic aspects are mostly forgotten. The general situation that CIOFF Estonia faced three years ago when we started our project, was that children and some youth groups were putting on random clothes, some make-up or ash as disguise, and went from door to door, singing only first two or three phrase of traditional songs and asked for candy. This was all what was left from the once rich calendar rituals. They had forgotten the main purposes - wishing luck to the family (which is the main function of the tradition), disguising themselves as a bear, goat or a female Kadri, dancing and singing. What had remained, was the wish to have some fun and memories (from kindergarten, family stories etc) of something that Estonians have been doing during the darkest time of the year, in November.

Raising awareness through fun, a feeling of community and a sense of doing something good
So, we had a diverse living tradition, with local distinctions that had been until today one of the most popular traditional folk calendar celebrations in Estonia (beside Christmas and Midsummer´s Day). We had one form of intangible cultural heritage that is actively celebrated and known by most of Estonians but had totally lost its traditional content, meaning and function. It had also started to mix with the tradition of Halloween because of the lack of knowledge.

CIOFF Estonia’s aim was to use the already living tradition that people are familiar with, and to enrich it with creative content and endless opportunities of local variations. We communicated that celebrating the holiday is fun and playful (we tend to forget it after growing up), and a great way to spend quality time with our loved ones by using the traditions and rituals of our ancestors.
The slogan of our project is “kadrisant on õnne pant”, which means that the central figure of the ritual, masked character called Kadri, is the key to happiness. With this slogan we wanted to remind people the lost meaning of this ritual of going door to door – the masked characters were believed to bring prosperity and happiness. An important part of the ritual is also to say it orally, to actually wish the family health, and nowadays, why not, a new car, a fulfilling job and good grades at school. By inviting people to sign up and to go from door to door in the traditional way, we offered them the opportunity to make someone´s life better through the traditional ritual that brings luck, prosperity and happiness to others. And who does not want to make the world a better place?

We also offered people helping guidelines. We organized free lectures to community members, teachers and mentors, printed a guidebook called “ABC of the Carnival Tradition”, filmed and published exemplary videos on YouTube and uploaded photos, song and lyrics examples on our website etc.
Our goal was not to restore the exact traditional and historical way of celebrating the custom, as it is written down in archive texts. Instead, we invited people to celebrate this tradition using their own creativity while keeping in mind the basic function (to bring luck, not to get treats) and some fundamental activities of the ritual.

International guests as inspiration and role models. Living the tradition instead of performing

Who wouldn’t like to see exotic cultures, ancient rituals and unexpected wonders of the world? As this tradition is known worldwide and has in every culture a very performative and active character, it is attractive for the audience. We have offered for foreign groups to participate in three kind of events: on the eve of the holiday going from door to door in small rural villages together with local groups, giving workshops and meetings in schools with students and children and performing in a staged concert at the end of the festival.
By sending the exotic foreign groups to the villages with local groups to actively celebrate and take part in the Estonian tradition, it has given the locals so much inspiration, courage and spark.
The small performances at schools, prior to the holiday, where foreign groups show and talk about their culture, have proven to be an inspiration and motivation for a lot of children to take part in this movement and to celebrate the holiday in a traditional way.
Inviting foreign groups has turned people’s attention to the tradition and showed that it is present in almost every culture of the world. It is very important to show the similarities and the differences of the cultures. With the help of foreign groups, during the three years of the campaign and festival, Estonians have started to value more our own carnival tradition.
When people saw at our first festival grown-up Sardinian men as boes and merdules, presenting their carnival rituals with ultimate focus and passion, it made people understand what we had been trying to explain - it is actually a grown-ups ritual with serious and specific functions, not children´s play for getting sweets.

An open call to count all the kadrisandid and mardisandid.

In 2019 we made an open call to count all the people going from door to door, and it was enormously popular among journalists and media. Now all of a sudden, an NGO has decided to count traditional mythical creatures. This call was also well received by people. We had a simple registration form on our website where people could mark the region, name of the group leader and how many people are in their group. We received response from 601 groups with almost 4000 participants!

Date of publication: 19.03.2020


CIOFF® INDIA in Support with Charu Castle Foundation organized a big Photo Exhibition that highlights the vibrancy of Culture, Supporting the propagation of ICH Element, Performing Arts, defined by UNESCO was a great success held in India in October , November 2019.

An art Exhibition is traditionally the space in which art Objects meet an audience, but here in this Photo Exhibition, Culture meets the audience, and that’s not only from India but Culture of various countries are displayed in framed Photographs that’s highlighted the Culture – Folkdances from various regions, countries and tribes defining Rich Cultural heritage of Costumes, Accessories and various themes of cultures beyond boundaries.

More than 150 photographs were displayed from India, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Estonia, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Russia, Philippines, Spain, Turkey, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Bhutan, Egypt etc.
A large number of Art lovers and students and other visitors fascinated by the Photo Exhibition theme and visited the place that is beautifully decorated with the theme Culture.

“Art and Culture knows no boundaries”, Photo Exhibition is a very creative way to bring the culture of the world near to audience and people from different walks of life. An important activity bring the culture alive and a platform where the Unity in Diversity, can be seen said by the curator Pawan Kapoor, National Delegate of CIOFF® INDIA.

Chairman of CCF, Mr. Kapoor added that India a multicultural country and these kind of activities focuses the need to preserve, promote and safeguard the rich culture of India , through various activities. To bring it more closer to audiences and show them the importance the Photo Exhibition travelled various states of North India which is applauded and appreciated by all.

Date of publication: 19.03.2020

Blue Print in Germany

Blue printing is a centuries-old technique of fabric finishing. In Germany, there are only 12 factories that practice this form of culture. In 2015, Norbert Müller, President of CIOFF® Deutschland, suggested to German blue printers that they apply to the German National Commission for UNESCO for inclusion in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. This application was successfully accepted and the blueprint was already included in the German directory in 2016. Together with Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, a joint application was submitted in 2017 for inclusion in the International List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. In this application it was also mentioned that the blue printers cooperate with NGOs and CIOFF® was specifically mentioned here. CIOFF® Germany has blueprints as official gifts for many years. The Intergovernmental UNESCO Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage included the blueprint in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on November 28, 2018 in Port Louis, Mauritius.
On June 4, 2019, the ceremony to hand over the certificates for the recognition of the blueprint as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity to the German blue printers took place in Berlin. CIOFF® Deutschland was invited by the German National Commission for UNESCO to participate in this important event.

Date of publication: 19.03.2020

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Next Events

20.03 - 30.03.2020 COSTA RICA
Festival INT de Folclor RAICES
27.03 - 04.04.2020 MEXICO
Council Spring Meeting
02.04 - 25.04.2020 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Sharjah Heritage Days
09.04 - 14.04.2020 BELGIUM
17.04 - 25.04.2020 CYPRUS ISKELE FESTIVAL
International 23rd April Children Festival
18.04 - 24.04.2020 TURKEY
Pendik International Children's Festival
29.04 - 04.05.2020 GERMANY
Balingen International
09.05 - 10.05.2020 HONDURAS
Exposición Artística Azacualpa Honduras
10.05 - 25.05.2020 NORTH MACEDONIA
International culture manifestation 'Days of Iljo'
12.05 - 16.05.2020 NORTH MACEDONIA
Folklore festival CVETOVI - Skopje


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