First Local Stakeholder Group meeting within Local Flavours project

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Harghita County Council participates in the project entitled Local Flavours, within the Interreg Europe program, and axes on the autenthic tourism development through the revival of cultural  „flavours”. Taking into consideration the objectives of the project, in Harghita county the Szekler traditional costume was selected as local „flavour” .

On 3 July 2020, on the Szekler Traditional Costume Day, the first local stakeholder group meeting took place in Siculeni, Harghita county, at the Fészek cafe. 

The Harghita National Folk Ensemble created a tradition by organizing on the day before the Thousand Szekler Girls Festival, the event called the Szekler Traditional Costume Day in 2017. This years event, in 2020, even if the situation was particular due to the pandemics, the event was not cancelled, because each interested people had the opportunity to join individually and safely to the call. So we encouraged all those with Szekler (and not only!) folk costumes owner to put on their clothes or some of their clothes on 3rd of July, set off or stay at home - according to what each person did and find a moment to share with us and everyone. The point is to wear the folk costume.

The participants of the first local stakeholder group meeting are: Mr. Bíró Barna Botond – vicepresident of Harghita County Council,  Mrs. Zonda Erika – project manager, general director, Mrs. Farkas Enikő – deputy general director, Mr. Birta Antal – public procurement responsible, general director, Mrs. Bíró Kinga – financial responsible, Mrs. Hegyi Anna – reverend widow, value preserver, Mrs. György Katalin – program organizer within the „András” Foundation, Mrs. Kisné Portik Irén – representative of the „Gránátalma” Association, Mrs. Mátéffy Mária – head of the Csík Leader organization, Mr. Szabó László – folk dancer, ensemble leader, costume sewer, Mr. Bors Béla – on behalf of ADR Centru – Managing Authority, Mrs. Mózes Annamária – representative of the Mózes Manufacture, Mr. Sándor Árpád – leader of the „Vámszer Géza” Folk Art School, Mr. Polgár Árpád-Csaba – program responsible at the Cultural and Art Center of Lăzarea, Mrs. Bartalis Izabella – leader of the Center of Traditional Culture Preservation Harghita County, Mr. Salló Szilárd – on behalf of the Center of Traditional Culture Preservation Harghita County, Mrs. Lőrinczi Hajnal – manager of the Folktext company, Mrs. Györgydeák Kinga – costume sewer from Bisericani, Mrs. Péterffy Ágnes-Katalin – on behalf of Harghita County Council, Mr. Erős Zoltán – press responsible on behalf of Harghita County Council,  the representatives of the Hargita Studio, the representatives of the Csík Leader organization – in total 25 people.

The local stakeholder group members participation in the implementation of the project activities is important, therefore is welcomed that so many people honoured the meeting with their presence and all the areas of specialization were represented (ADR Centru – Managing Authority, public institution, cultural and educational institutions, program organizers, specialists in the field, costume sewers, value preservers, regional representatives, manufacture managers, folk costume producers, members of the project implementation unit, press representatives). 

The main topic of the meeting was the inventory of the problems in the field of the Szekler folk costume and inventory of the solutions. Our aim is to improve the selected domain, to lead it into a safe direction and to let live. Mrs. Zonda Erika mentioned that the Folk Costume Assistance Program is implemented since several years, and within this we observed that there are some anomalies, which have to be solved and then we were thinking to lead them into the right direction. Many people are happy to wear the Szekler folk costume, but there appeared also „scam costumes”, „uniforms”, and not always the authentic costums are weared, the applicants prefer rather quantity than quality. This is not good,  even dangerous, because these types of Szekler costumes can be inherited further, forgetting the characteristics of real, authentic Szekler folk costumes.

Within the meeting there were listed some problems, such as: lack of the folk costumes; confection of costumes, which are not authentic; wearing not adequate footwear with the folk costume; lack of consultation; lack of the quality raw materials; lack of costume sewers; lack of manufacturers of character shoes and boots; lack of saving authentic folk costumes; lack of traditional folk costume shops; lack of folk costume renters;  lack of training and career guidance.

Regarding solutions: the establishment of the manufactures would be a solution, where all the process of the folk costume manufacturing and valorization could be followed step by step, could be visited and even tried.   

It was unanimously stated that the main emphasis should be on training, two types of training are proposed - training for children and adult training (lifelong learning, training for the unemployed, retraining for those aged 40-50). At the same time, more emphasis should be placed on strengthening identity awareness among both young people and adults.


Siculeni, Harghita county, 03.07.2020

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