Traditional grass mowing competition of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s southwestern town Kupres has been inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage list.
The most important social event in the Kupres municipality is the annual mowing competition that takes place in July at a specific meadow called Strljanica, which is also the local name for the custom. The contest involves the manual mowing of grass using a scythe and is judged by the time, effort and amount mown as cutting grass at that altitude requires strength and a special technique.
The top three mowers are recognized, with the chief mower treated as a leader who ensures the successful mowing of all the fields to gather hay for the cattle; agriculture and cattle breeding are essential parts of the area’s economy.
Men, starting from the age of eighteen, are traditionally the competitors, with the element being transmitted within families from father to son. Women rake the grass and prepare food for guests. Other elements linked to the competition include national costumes, the forging of scythes and the preparation of cattle for competition.
All ethnic and religious groups and individuals in Kupres are free to participate, with the custom being considered as a foundation of the area’s cultural identity, regardless of people’s background.
The bearers themselves and the Kupres Mowers Association are most responsible for safeguarding the element.