I am here in Taos, New Mexico. But I still have a lot to share from back home in Morocco. In fact, yet another benefit of blogging is that I can stay connected to my Moroccan home, and revisit some things that touched me.
A few weeks ago, at my parents’ farm out in Ourika, we heard lots of music and noise. My first thought was “world cup fever”. We grabbed the kids and rushed outside. We didn’t see any football fanatics, thank goodness. What we saw was a beautiful, joyous wedding procession.
Now, I am kind of a city cynic, I tend to be fatigued with all things urban, and all rosy eyed about anything that originates in the countryside. (Please don’t burst my bubble). This wedding procession is a perfect example. What I saw was pure joy, real celebration.
The people who live out in the country are called the Amazigh, they are the original inhabitants of Morocco, long before the Arabs came from the East. Although the Amazigh and the Arabs still maintain very different identities, (language and culture esp.), they do co-exist seamlessly, peaceably. The Amazigh are most commonly referred to as Berbers. Not sure if this term is politically correct. Anyhow, they don’t call themselves that. They refer to themselves by one of three main tribes. In Ourika, they are part of the Tashelheet tribe.
Maybe this is a stereotype, but I do have a special fondness and respect for Tashelheet people. They tend to be honest, direct, open, and have a great sense of humor. Maybe this is true of all people who live close to the natural world. The Amazigh accepted Islam from the Arabs, in large part because Islam contains a lot of symbolism and imagery from the natural world. It resonates perfectly with a people so in tune with the natural cycles. Reflection and meditation on the natural world is something that all Muslims are encouraged to do.
On to the pictures. Because I value my sanity, I will only try to include 3 or so photos in this post (I still can’t stop apologizing for my last post, way more pictures than I planned, and a lot of text that disappeared upon publishing).
In this first picture, note the three percussion instruments that the men are playing: the castanettes, the tambourine, and the tray. In the background you can see a white caftan hoisted on a bamboo stick, topped with a bouquet of flowers. So festive.
And here is a tray of goodies: dates, a bowl of milk, a giant cone of sugar, 2 rosewater shakers, candles, incense, and roses. I love the henna on her hands.
This is the whole procession. They were accompanying the bride to her house, where the wedding would happen later in the evening (much later).
I will try to post more pictures of this blessed event, but later, insha Allah (God willing).