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?

Holloween?

Nope.

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.

A Moroccan Tashelheet Wedding

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).