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The Amazigh (Berber)

Nomadic farmers

Nomadic farmers

Unbreak your mind on an existential journey to the High Atlas Mountains and feel the inspirational energy of the surrounding scenery flow through you.

The Amazighs have long walked these lands. Farming. Trading. Living. And long delivered their goods beyond the Sahara desert to the cities of North Morocco.
Snapshot

Snapshot

  • Region is Northern Africa

  • Climate here is Mild

  • The challenge here is Casual

  • This trip has been rated 5 by other travelers

Life

Life

Amazighs are often on the move to provide their livestock with food, water and shelter. This also gives them the opportunity to collect plants to use for dyes. The tribes that live in the Atlas Mountains are set in small medieval-style villages.
Home

Home

While they may spend lots of time moving around, Amazigh tribes have permanent villages to call home. Their clay houses are carved into the sides of mountains and surrounded by farmlands.

Culture

Social Structure

Most Amazigh communities are led by men. But families can be either patriarchal or matriarchal depending on the tribe.

Religion

Most Amazighs are Sunni Muslim. But ancient beliefs can still be found woven into everyday life with religious practices based more on traditions and the decisions of the community.

Traditions

The Berber traditions are maintained today as in ancestral times, whether for traditional festivals, for weddings or births, or even in everyday life. In some areas of Morocco it is still common to see women dressed in traditional clothes or with henna with saffron makeup and the traditional songs resonate in the streets of the oldest villages.

Language

Tamazight is a branch of the Afroasiatic language family that consists of almost thirty Amazigh languages and hundreds of dialects. Their writing system, Tifinagh, is an abjad script of ancient origin.

Art

A beautiful part of Amazigh culture. Their art often has a purpose beyond just being looked at, usually to be worn or used. So you’ll see the most enchanting jewelry, pottery, furniture, carpets and fabrics. Artistic design is also represented in their architecture. 
Kilims are always made with traditional motifs and they are decorated with fringes and sequins, while other Berber weavers from different regions will simply use geometric designs such as diamonds and triangles.
The jewels are illuminated and adapted to modern life while maintaining their sumptuous decorations.

Celebrations

Yennayer: It’s the Amazigh New Year, based on the Amazigh agrarian calendar. This is celebrated on January 14. A large meal (always including couscous) is prepared, and it’s seen as a good omen to marry on this day. Children are also encouraged to pick fruits and vegetables themselves as a sign of initiation into the agricultural life.
Boujloud: Taking place a few days after Eid al Adha and lasting for three days, this celebration has different interpretations. Myths claim that the purpose is to show the battle of good vs. evil. Men dress up in goat skins, paint their faces with charcoal, and even attach hooves to their hands. Women and children sing, dance, and play music. 
Further knowledge

Further knowledge

Despite ‘Berber’ being used the world over, we do not use this term. The Latin origin means ‘barbarian’ and it is offensive to the Amazigh community.

Taskiwine, an Amazigh Martial Dance, is in the UNESCO Urgent Safeguarding List for Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Berbers are really welcoming but the right of women to decide if they can be photographed must be respected.