INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF PLAYFUL COMMUNITIES
In Belgium, Vlaamse Traditionele Sporten vzw (Vlas), an umbrella organization federating 22 traditional sports communities in the Flanders region, as well as Sportimonium and Workshop Intangible Heritage (WIE) Flanders.
In Cyprus, Folklore Association “Ktima”, an umbrella organisation for the safeguarding of TGS in Pafos.
The communities in Istria participated in writing the nomination and choosing video and photo material. All listed practitioners-clubs and association took part in this process. Further, the nomination is supported by Municipalities of Buzet and Savičenta, Elementary school Juraj Dobrila from Rovinj, elementary school Marčana as well as the Association of blind people – Istria, the Ethnographic Museum of Istria as well as by Ecomuseum Batana, acknowledged as UNESCO ICH good safeguarding practice in 2016.
In France, the FALSAB Confederation (Tocatì network) solicited the 40 associations it federates and the 20 other federations involved in the collective ICH inventory work of GSTs, to involve them in the preparation of the application file. The Fédération de Gouren, Fédération des jeux et sports traditionnels basques d’Iparralde et le Comité National des Quilles au Maillet has been actively involved in all the steps of the nomination preparation, as well as the Institut d’ethnologie méditerranéenne européenne et comparative – IDEMEC – UMR 7307 CNRS.
At the international level, the European Traditional Sports and Games Association (ETSGA) and the International Traditional Sports and Games Association (ITSGA) support the Tocatì multinational nomination.
International Network of Playful Communities
In Belgium, the Tocatì programme involves multiple actors through the ludodiversity programme initiated by Sportimonium in Flanders. This organisation includes a research centre, a sports museum and a theme park. Within the “programme of cultivating ludodiversity”, the Sportimonium works with the umbrella organization Vlaamse Traditionele Sporten (VlaS), federating 22 traditional sports communities in the Flanders region. The Belgian contribution is based on support gained from its experience in safeguarding traditional games over the past decades, represented by Sportimonium, endorsed by the Flemish government. Sportimonium and other accredited Flemish ICH NGOs agreed to participate in the work around the sharing of good safeguarding practices and experiences in the international networking processes, as well as to the work to be delivered in relation to inclusion in the UNESCO Register devoted to this objective. Today’s process of coordination in the Tocatí Programme builds upon preliminary stages of exchange and cooperation in the previous decades. In fact, AGA and Sportimonium work together since 2007: Sportimonium participates in the Tocatì symposia, while AGA attends formal meetings at Sportimonium in Belgium. The Flemish Federation of Traditional Games – VlaS has been involved together with Faro, the Flemish Interface for Cultural Heritage and tapis plein (now Werkplaats immaterieel erfgoed) in the design and implementation of the Tocatì programme and the PdV.
“Over the years there has been a fruitful collaboration and exchange with Tocatì. The Tocatì programme, with the community-based approach, the inclusive attitude and the connecting approach in a spirit of cooperation, fits perfectly in the policy and philosophy of Sportimonium. That is why the Sportimonium fully supports the application file and will continue to do so.”
The Folklore Association of KTIMA from Cyprus, strongly supports the work and efforts activated by Associazione Giochi Antichi (AGA) to establish TOCATÌ in the Register of ‘Good Safeguarding Practices of the Intangible Cultural Heritage’ of UNESCO. Since 2018 we have been given the opportunity to participate and contribute to TOCATÌ festival.
The fact that we have been active in promoting Traditional Sports and Games, provided us with the benefit of inclusion in the Network of Verona. We believe that the Network of Verona is a valuable network of associates and creates a strong relation among associations and individuals who are committed in promoting tradition and focus on sustaining Traditional Sports and Games through TOCATÌ programme and festival.
Activities carried out during TOCATÌ are all significant and it is mandatory for all associates to ensure the continuity of these in the future. The 19th edition of TOCATÌ has been very important to us, being one of the guests of honour countries. We have participated in the following activities:
• Music group KTIMA, played at the opening ceremony, which took place in Castlevecchio, where officials declared the start of the event.
• Our team of players took part in Lippa tournament but at the same time demonstrated ‘Ligrin’ to the audience and encouraged them to play. Ligrin is a traditional game of Cyprus, that has many similarities to Lippa and is inscribed in the national Intangible Cultural Heritage List of UNESCO, since 2017 by the Folklore Association of KTIMA.
• We were given the chance to provide our contribution during the UNESCO conference and share our experiences in the time of the pandemic and how activities related to intangible heritage was addressed to during those peculiar circumstances.
• Members of our group in Cyprus, in association with the Paphos Nautical Club, were linked via live streaming with the communication team of AGA, and demonstrated sailing in the sea of our hometown, Paphos.
“In the years 2018 and 2019, the Folklore Association of Ktima was invited to participate in the Tocatì Festival – which takes place in Verona, Italy. There, we participated and presented our research in regards to the Traditional Easter Games of Cyprus. Moreover, we participated as a team in the group contest of the popular Italian game called “Lippa”. We even pleasantly recognised that the Italian game is very similar to a traditional Cypriot game called “Ligrin”. The Tocatì Festival was excellently organised both these years and there was powerful audience participation. Ktima signed the protocol of Verona in 2019, participating since 2018 in the international symposia “Tocatì a shared heritage””.
The Istrian Pljočke Association – IPS, was founded in 2011 and since its inception has been working on the safeguarding, transmitting, documenting and promoting the traditional game of pljočke. The IPS is the promoter of the initiative for the recognition of the game as intangible cultural heritage and, according to the decision of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, its holders.
“We share the idea of promoting the Tocatì as a laboratory of creative forms, especially of synergy and dialogue between citizens and as a tool of a social inclusion and cultural diversity.”
The FALSAB Confederation (Confederation of Traditional Games and Sports of Brittany) was created in March 1930. It aims to promote Breton games (boules, shuffleboard, skittles and power games) at regional, national and international level. It supports members of its network in the development of disciplines. To date, 95 practices have been referenced in Brittany. To carry out its promotional mission, the Confederation develops educational, touristic and sporting projects. It is also a publishing house and can thus publish works in this field.
The Confederation is a member of several international networks (AEJST, TAFISA), regional networks in the field of sport, culture, intangible heritage (CROS Bretagne, Cultural Council of Brittany, Bretagne Culture Diversité, etc.). The Confederation participates in meetings and exchanges with other players in the games in France and in Europe.
“FALSAB went, naturally, in September 2019, to Verona, to participate in the Tocatì Festival where the invited region was Brittany. This trip made it possible to discover the diversity of Italian games and to introduce Italians, among others, to Breton diversity. It was a very beautiful moment of exchange. In the world of games, the language barrier is not a problem, gestures are enough. And that is why learning is quite rapid.”
Practiced in the Gers and Landes countryside for longtime, this game was banned by prefectural decision in 1956. Faced with the importance of the stakes and the resulting bankruptcies, the Prefect had to take drastic measures. It was therefore necessary to obtain an exceptional authorization for this game to be reborn in 1972. Since then, bowling with a mallet has experienced exceptional growth in the Gers and the Landes and its practice now extends to Haute-Garonne and Aveyron. It was in 1992 that the mallet bowling section joined the current French Bowling and Sports Bowling Federation and became the eighth traditional discipline with 6, 8 and 9 bowling.
“In our villages, practicing the Quilles de Maillet is more than playing sports. It is to place oneself in the continuity of our ancestors or to place oneself in the cultural framework of the country, of the region, of the entity which welcomes us, it is a factor of integration, a factor of humanization, emancipation, socialisation.”
Traditional Basque games and sports are practices deeply rooted in our traditions. The first written traces date back to the 15th century. Our games are closely linked to the rural world and ancient trades, masonry, logging, transport of materials, mining work, etc. These games are common to all Basques residing in France, Spain and the diaspora, governed by a single regulation. They are subject to provincial championships, and at a higher level, the Basque Country Championship made up of all its historical territories. For more than a decade, these games, which were often exclusive to men, have been open to schools, for girls and boys and, therefore, today there are championships for ladies.
Bidasoako Txaranga was created in 1980, composed since its inception by members from all over the Bidasoa basin, whatever their nationality or origin. Bringing together volunteer members to strengthen the culture in general, the one that is closest to us, to live together in our linguistic and cultural differences, within the framework and the spirit of the law of association. Music, song, dance, bell bearers (the Joaldunak), games and traditional sports have been our reality and our DNA for 42 years.
The Joaldunak “those who have bells”, are mythical characters of the Basque carnival, their origin dates back to the pagan period. Dressed in a short skirt and a pointed hat decorated with numerous ribbons, they wear two enormous bells attached to the small of their backs. They sound them rhythmically, maintaining a uniform overall step, while shaking a horsehair whip.
Today the joaldunak are one of the last existing vestiges of pagan rites. Similarities can be found in many parts of Europe and the world The meeting with AGA and the TOCATÌ festival was an opportunity to show, in this incomparable festival, the riches of our cultural heritage, but also to share those of our partners. A very beautiful adventure that we want to continue together.
“Tocatì is our common home, a place of resources and inspiration, to which we belong, a true “community of communities”. These are all reasons that motivate our participation in a multinational candidacy, the ideal framework to assert, in the future, (institutional) support for common safeguarding projects, which strengthen our approach towards this necessary safeguarding of our cultural diversities.”