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Vibrant Rhythms and Cultural Delights!

Vibrant Rhythms and Cultural Delights!

28 Février 2024
Vibrant Rhythms and Cultural Delights!

The first quarter of the year is celebrated with various festivals around Morocco. It is advised that you catch some of them if you happen to be in the area at the right time.
Amazigh New Year, also called Berber New Year, is the new year for the Amazigh communities in Morocco. Locally, the holiday is called Yennayer and is celebrated on the 12th and 13th of January. The Amazigh are an indigenous community of the North African High Atlas Mountains. To celebrate the new year, numerous bonfires are ignited by families. These bonfires symbolize a clean slate from the past year–like a cleansing or purification.
This past new year marked the year 2974 in the Amazigh calendar, and this year was different from the others. It was the first year that Morocco's King Mohammed VI made it an official national holiday. This recognition is a step in the right direction of the community being more welcome in Moroccan society.
Preparing dinner for this occasion is an all day affair. Spreads of couscous, dried legumes, whole grains, sheep's or cow's foot, onions and light spices make up the abundant traditional new year feast. Another tradition that some families take part in is the tradition of tagoula. Boiled barley or corn grits is what makes up tagoula and it can be eaten with melted ghee, olive oil or argan oil and honey. A “lucky” or amnaz date pit is placed at the bottom of the tagoula and whoever finds the date pit is considered blessed. Contrarily, a boutique hotel in the Ouirgane Valley, an hour south of Marrakech, switched the date pit to an almond after some unfortunate chipped teeth.
Speaking of almonds, the Almond Blossom Festival happens in February each year and is exactly what it sounds like. A celebration of the blooming flowers and changing landscape as the weather starts to get warmer. Complete with traditional dances, music, crafts, food, and more, the Almond Blossom Festival sounds like a dream.
Almond trees are among the first plants to blossom when springtime comes around. So the festival indicates the start of spring and symbolically, the start of new life.
The small town called Tafraoute is the home of the Almond Blossom Festival. The town is lined with small pink homes with white windows and tall greenery all around, matching that of the Almond trees. Tafraoute houses members of the Amazigh community and has a reputation of being very friendly and welcoming. It’s quite a ways away from Marrakech and the more populated cities of Morocco, but is worth the trip. This festival attracts many international visitors, which means the hotels and accommodations fill up fast. Check out the luxury villas and riads that Marrakech Sunset Properties has to offer that get you closer to the action.

 

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