Hide your kids, the Boujloud are coming!

What’s that holiday called where kids dress up in scary costumes, knock on your door and ask for treats, threatening mischief should you refuse them?



Gotcha, you were thinking locally weren’t you.  Think globally.. . and let your thoughts take you to a tiny Amazigh village in Morocco.  A few days ago, each family has slaughtered a sheep or a goat….now you have a whole load of smelly skins and nothing fun to do with them.  Unless…

boujloud, goat boy, Marrakesh Morocco blog

The boujloud are coming!  If you are a kid, you hear the drums beating and run out to meet them.  Or alternately you find a place to hide.  After all, you have spent the last day in terrified anticipation of them, exchanging horror stories with other kids about what might happen to you if you don’t give the Boujloud some money. They take all your food and break  your furniture…they pick up little kids by their feet and hit them…if the boujloud man goes to a graveyard at night, the goat skins will stick to his body!

I remember this from my own childhood, mapping out hiding spots with my friends.  In my mind the Boujloud were a fierce and fearsome band of boogeymen.  This Eid, I saw the same delighted fear on my children’s faces.  And I could see now that the Boujloud are just a bunch of local youth, out having fun.

You can’t buy costumes like this in any store.  I love the creative re-using of these getups.  The Goat Boy is the star of the bunch.  It is actually quite an impressive (read scary) experience to see him up close.

boujloud, berber dressup, Marrakesh Morocco blog

No children were harmed in the making of this blog post:

boujloud, berber Eid tradition, Marrakesh Morocco blog.

It was all (fairly) harmless fun and exaggerated posturing.

boujloud, berber tradition, Eid, Marrakesh Morocco blog

Interesting note: the money raised by the Boujloud is donated to the local mosque.  Not your typical fundraiser, but it works.


11 thoughts on “Hide your kids, the Boujloud are coming!

  1. Mary Mimouna says:

    What beautiful photos! I really liked your caption, “No children were harmed in this photo.”

    I asked my husband about this, who grew up in the Marrakesh medina in the early 60’s. He said it was already dying out in the medina at that time. They didn’t have it. He never saw it in Marrakesh, only out at the farm in l’Oudaya.

  2. Wonderful post! And a wonderful (if slightly freaky) experience for kids to have. I am reminded of all those Grimm Fairy Tales, about witches in woods cooking up schemes to fatten child slaves up to eat them…something about the need to face one’s fears whilst in the safe, protective environment of our parents’ arms…or some other psychology spiel.

    I love your photos too, what camera do you use? I am still planning to come to Marrakesh in the (hopefully) not too distant future, armed with notebooks, camera and a ravenous appetite. Love and salams xxx

    • Gracias guapa. I almost didn’t want to dispel my children’s fears too quickly, and take the magic out of the whole thing. But I had to at least assure them that they wouldn’t be harmed, after that they were more than eager to tag along with the boujloud up and down the countryside, along with a gaggle of other kids.
      The camera you ask? Well, about a year ago, I decided I was worthy of a real camera, one that was bigger than a deck of cards. It’s been a life changing experience. I have a Nikon d3000, which is what’s called an entry level Digital SLR (I forget what SLR stands for, but it refers to big, 3 dimensional cameras). If I were buying a camera now, I’d buy the newly released Nikon d3100, that also has video capabilities. Why not! Mine cost $450 at the time, and D3100 costs $630. I love the way my camera captures photos, I’m not too fussed about the fact that I have no training. Photographers can get quite obsessive. In spite of myself, I’ve managed to pick up a few tricks and techniques along the way. I also sometimes mess around with photoshop, if I have the time. Taking photos has taught me to take my time, looking around, observing, much in the same way that the writing process creates a deeper engagement with the world. Go for it my dear, it will do your artistic soul good.

  3. What a holiday!
    I can see this would be the sort of delicious fun children all over the world enjoy
    dressing up/scary stuff/getting money or treats
    when I was a child in England we had GUY FAWKES night
    when we made a straw man to burn on a bonfire but would drag him round the village first
    asking for ‘a penny for the Guy’ so we could buy fireworks.
    Moroccan animal skins are a little scary…..
    I remember boys burning the sheeps’ heads on bonfires in derb dabachi after the eid celebration

    love to you all from post-Thanksgiving New York.

  4. that first photo is terrifying without reading more about what is going on.

    I want to have this in conjunction with Halloween every year and then eat that goat.

  5. Donna says:

    I remember the Bilmawn and the achwash that came with it. We loved it. What is the difference between the boujloud and the bilmawn, do you know that?

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