Khénifra: Customs and traditions of the Amazigh

Yennayer is the first day of the Amazigh year corresponding to the first day of the agrarian calendar during which women and men proudly display their traditional Berber clothing and present their wishes in music, including the Ahwach and the ahidouss, an art transmitted and preserved from generation to generation.

However, what characterizes the Amazigh year are these customs and traditions that differ from one region to another, something that gives it symbolic dimensions that the inhabitants of the Atlas express through rituals of celebration that draw their roots in the Amazigh culture, which is undeniably an intangible national wealth. This Amazigh New Year which coincides with the night of January 13 of the Gregorian year is celebrated in all the countries of the Maghreb. Known as “Yennayer”, it is also called “Asseguass” which means the day that separates two periods.

This event, which was celebrated collectively under the supervision of the chief of the tribe and his collaborators, consists of the preparation of traditional meals including Berber couscous with seven vegetables decorated with different sweets and a mixture of dried fruits and nuts and the performance of festive rituals according to customs and traditions inherited from the predecessors and which vary according to the regions.

Other festive dishes are prepared on this occasion such as Berkoukes, Tagoulla or assidah prepared with Amlou, argan oil and honey. This celebration is done within the tribe, it is an opportunity for meetings and reunions between families and it is the leader of the tribe who designates the family that will host the dinner of the celebration generally consisting of traditional local dishes.

The evening of the celebration of the Amazigh New Year is embellished with rituals carrying meanings that refer to optimism and goodness and at sunrise, the couscous grains are scattered in the fields, pastures, stables and silos in the hope that the new year will bring happiness, wealth and abundance.

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