Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Morocco's Ahidous Festival 2017


The 17th edition of the National Festival of Ahidous will take place from 25 to 27 August. The organisers say that the aim of this event is to "preserve and publicise this musical heritage that connects the past with the present and reflects one of the many facets of Moroccan culture"

Ahidous is one of the most important collective dances of Amazigh (Berber) society. It is also a means of allowing the group to express the emotion shared by the individuals and above all to highlight the  culture and the beauty of its nature. As an art rooted in the Amazigh culture, the Ahidous is a means of communication between the individuals of the group and an expression of the collective spirit and solidarity among the Amazigh tribes.

The movements of this dance, being collective, is a trampling, a tremor that spreads, interspersed with undulations that recall the movement caused by the winds on the corn. By the ease of his dancers and the repetitiveness of the rhythms that accompany them, the Ahidous testifies to a remarkable sense of choreography.

Some 45 folklore troops from different mountainous regions of the Middle Atlas will participate in the festival in the small locality of Ain Leuh (province of Ifrane). Initiated by the association Taymate of the arts of the Atlas, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, the festival aims to create a space for exchanges and meetings between poets, artists and researchers specialized in Amazigh culture.

This year, tributes will be paid to a number of Amazigh artists, including Fatima Amarech, Hassan Bouykifi, Hassan Charki and Mbarek Oussidi.

A very popular event, since its first edition in 2000, the National Festival of Ahidous has gained momentum and has taken a leading place on the list of festivals organised by the Ministry of Culture.

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Eid El Kebir - September 1st


Eid El Kebir (Eid Al Adha) will be celebrated on Friday 1 September in Morocco. The announcement was made by the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs

In a statement, the ministry said that the sighting of the lunar crescent announcing the month of Dou Al Hijja in Hegira 1438 was observed on Tuesday evening, August 22. Consequently Eid Al Adha will be celebrated on 10 Dou Hijja 1438 corresponding to 1 September 2017.

So it's a long weekend in Morocco in early September. Also on Tuesday, the Ministry of Economy and Finance announced that the salaries of civil servants for the current month will be paid on Friday 25 August 2017, in view of Eid Al Adha.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Freestyle Urban Dance Festival in Meknes


The 14th edition of the International Festival of Urban Cultures will take place from the 4th to 17th of September in Meknès. It is the initiative of the Association "Espoir Jeunesse Morocco Freestyle Urban dance", this event will take place in several areas of the city of Meknès


Organised in partnership with the French Institute and the town of Meknes, this edition will see the participation of more than 800 national and international artists and athletes. The program includes competitions, workshops, training courses, meetings, artistic residencies and a socio-sportive and cultural caravan.

Professionals from Morocco and elsewhere were invited to supervise the workshops and trainings. They will also take part in the juries of the different competitions scheduled during this edition.

The artists participating in this festival, considered the biggest artistic event in the category "Competition" for urban cultures in Morocco, compete in several categories, including hip-hop and breakdance, djing, graffiti, freestyle, beat box and rap.

The "Espoir Jeunesse Maroc Freestyle Urban dance" Association, founded in February 2008, has as its main objective the supervision and training of young people in the field of urban cultures.

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Drop in Sheep Price For Eid


Eid al-Adha, when Muslims slaughter sheep and cattle in remembrance of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son can be an expensive time for many Moroccan families. Thankfully, this year the price of sheep is set to be considerably lower than 2016

The main reason behind the lower prices is the abundance of sheep due to a good agricultural season.

Families usually expect a rise in prices as the sacrifice feast draws near. However, this year the livestock markets are calm and show a range between 39 and 45 dirhams per kilo as compared to between 55 and 80 dirhams last year. The price of livestock feed has dropped considerably, due to good growing conditions, and is seen as a determining factor in the final price.

Similarly, the abundant supply of sheep is pushing prices down. The 510,000 sheep and 3,000 goats offered for sale are sufficient for the whole population and have been certified free of disease, contrary to rumours of previous years.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Taragalte Festival - 27, 28, 29th of October 2017


A Festival Under The Stars
(Click on images to enlarge)

Taragalte is a 3 day festival in Zagora. A very different festival under the stars in the desert of south Morocco. This festival is a celebration of nomadic heritage and world music. The festival will also host the 4th edition of the Peace Caravan -  promoting peace and tolerance in the Sahara and Sahel. You can relax in the dunes, listen to music, poetry, dance under the moon and enjoy art or participate in workshops about the fragile environment of the desert.




 Find out more about this year at http://www.taragalte.org

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Escape the Heat in Fez - Head to the Hills


If you have been sweltering in Fez there are a growing number of places up in the foothills of the Middle Atlas where you can chill out. The View From Fez team recently visited Dar El Mandar, just 35 minutes from Fez

This beautifully designed Amazigh dwelling is nestled in the hills overlooking the Fez-Sais plain with a view of Fez.  It is an ideal place for families or groups to stay overnight or visit with a day pass that includes use of the pristine pool and a delicious lunch.

Dar El Mandar was created by Jaoued Saidi and his wife Samira who have put years of thought and planning into creating a place of beauty that combines both contemporary and traditional Amazigh (Berber) styles.


For cooler times, the main house has a roaring fire in the large open-plan lounge and dining area. There is choice of a large dining table or a less formal table on the terrace outside.


The food is traditional, beautifully prepared and ranges from simple tagines to more elaborate menus if arranged in advance.

The bread and cakes are all cooked on-site in a traditional Amazigh oven. For those interested, a traditional bread making course is available.

Traditional Amazigh bread-making with Khadija

What is remarkable about the Dar El Mandar experience is the variety of areas, each with a totally different ambiance. Sitting beside the pool sipping a cool rosé, or with a group of friends eating lunch in the outdoor dining room, or (our favourite) chilling out in one of the the traditional Amazigh tents.

Room with a view - outdoor dining

The Amazigh tents are ideal for simply relaxing, reading a book or having a siesta. Looking out over the landscape it is easy to see why Game of Thrones used the tents as a template for the Dothraki tents. Khal Drogo slumping on a banquette would not look out of place.

The perfect chill out spot

At the end of the day the bedrooms are inviting, tastefully decorated and with very comfortable beds. If you want to stay overnight it is important to book well ahead as Dar El Mandar has only three (air-conditioned) bedrooms.


Photo credits: Sandy McCutcheon, Suzanna Clarke - Click on images to enlarge

DETAILS

Douar Lahricha Bni Mellala, Kandar Sidi Khiar Caïdat Aït Youssi, Sefrou, Morocco.
00 212 676 141 335
darelmandarfes.com

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