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Amazigh patrimony in the South-east of Morocco

Ait Khebbach tribe as a model :

Wedding ceremony in Morocco differs from a region into another; each tribe has its own traditions to perform marriage.
Because I belong to Ait Khbbach tribe that situated in the South-east of Morocco, I would like to give a preamble describing the process of celebrating our way of performing a wedding ceremony. According to Ait Khbbash traditions, the celebration of wedding is in three-day wedding ceremony; each day has its special activities, songs and festivities. I will try to narrate the details in some paragraphs, and then I will show you the link to find the book on the net :

Ass Amezwaru ‘‘ The First Day ’’ of marriage :

The first day of wedding officially starts with the arrival of the bride and her family accompanied by Isnayn. Isnayn are very essential in Ait Khbbash wedding, they are normally sent by the groom to safeguard and accompany the bride in her long trip to her groom’s house. To maintain the Ait Khbbash connection to their nomadic past, they set up a bridal tent near to the groom’s house.
Then the bride rides a mule, horse or a camel to move towards the bridal tent accompanied by her family so that they can protect her from tiqaf ‘‘an action performed to stop person from achieving specific aims’’. Ait Khbbash believe that the bride is vulnerable to attacks from jnoun and tiqaf which may prevent her from consummating her marriage. This is why the camel, mule or horse that the bride rides is adorned in very specific fashion using aesthetic objects which are thought to be protective such as red carpets and scarf draped over its seat. Women surround the bride and start welcoming her family through reciting the following joyful songs :
  • Gez-d amm lman : Descend, you with peace
  • Gez-d am larbah : Descend, you with good luck
  • Gez-d am ikdifen : Descend, you with carpets
  • Gez-d am wurtan : Descend, you with farms
  • Gez-d am ileyman : Descend, you with camel
  • Gez-d am larbah : Descend, you with good luck
The bride’s mother often leads the camel while her sister stands beside her. Although the bride needs to travel only short distance to the bridal tent, the trip may take long time. One of Ait Khbbash traditions is that same people of the groom’s relatives may impede the bride and Isnayn from advancing towards the bridal tent and oblige them jokingly to perform some embarrassing deeds and try to steal items from the bride’s materials such as the red carpets and scarf. Women also participate in this ceremonial game by reciting sarcastic playful comments in attempt to help Isnayn and the bride to proceed.

Before the entrance of the bride into the bridal tent in which she will be living during the three day wedding ceremony, the bride circles the tent three times counterclockwise to show respect. Then she is given a bowl of milk to drink one sip and sprinkle the rest on the wedding guests. The milk in Ait Khbbash culture is associated with the « white future » and connected with the bride’s fertility. Ait Khbbash regard the entrance of the bridal tent to be very dangerous because it is lived by spiritual beings or jnoun « ait udyar », inhabitants of the place in Tamazight and by circling it three times and sprinkling milk in its entrance, they think they automatically pacify and purify the place from (jnoun and tiqaf).
After performing these crucial traditions, the bride enters the tent with her family and female guests. Then they are given “miswak” which is believed to have medicinal power that cleans the teeth against decay. While women start singing joyful poetry, the groom’s family provides the female married guests a brazier filled with burning charcoal after dropping incense on it, which creates a sweet atmosphere in the tent.
The first day ends at night when Isnayn discreetly accompany the bride to another tent where the groom has remained for sexual intercourse making her transition from virginal girl to married women. For the continuity of Ait Khbbach wedding ceremony, please follow the book title bellow: “Amazigh arts in Morocco: women shaping Berber Identity, Centhia Becker”.

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