Berber couples wed in mass Morocco mountain wedding - GulfToday

Berber couples wed in mass Morocco mountain wedding


Young Amazigh (Berber) men and women wait for their wedding ceremony during the annual "Engagement Moussem."

High up in Morocco's Atlas mountains, three dozen young Berber couples gathered for a traditional group wedding to the sound of drums and ululating.

Near the lakeside village of Imilchil, hundreds flocked to attend the singing and dancing from last Thursday to Sunday under a bright blue sky.

Young Amazigh (Berber) women pose for a selfie photograph during the annual "Engagement Moussem."

The wedding parties hailed from different villages, the brides wearing long colourful dresses, some embellished with embroidery, jewelry or shimmering sequins.

They and their grooms waited patiently inside a large tent pitched over rocky terrain for a visiting religious man to legalise each union.

Amazigh (Berber) men arrive with a donkey to take part in the annual "Engagement Moussem" festival.

Dubbed the "engagement season", this ancestral custom of Morocco's Amazigh-speaking people was once intended to make peace between rival clans.

"It's an ancient tradition and a very important event for the region," said organiser Lhousain Oukhatar.

Each year in the High Atlas Mountains hamlet of Ait Amer, tribes celebrate the collective wedding of young Amazigh couples.

But "the new generation doesn't care much about traditions", he said, missing the "radiance of years yonder".

Outside the wedding tent, men in white turbans and long hooded robes tapped their drums, as women dressed in flamboyant colours stood in a line, moving their shoulders from side to side to the rhythm.

"Engagement Moussem" festival takes place near the village of Imilchil in central Morocco's high Atlas Mountains.

Among those waiting inside to wed, some looked nervous, while other couples exchanged excited glances.

A woman passed around the wedding rings on a silver platter.

Once married, they stepped out of the tent to be greeted by loud ululations, before disappearing smiling into the crowd.

Agence France-Presse

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