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Berber Wedding Customs and Traditions

Mar 28

Written by:
3/28/2011 6:00 PM  RssIcon

Wedding cutoms of Berber Speaking Ishelhine of Southern Morocco

In the the days leading up to her wedding, Saadia sat in her parents' home and prepared for her nuptials. Among the Ida ou Zeddout, this involved the bride's seclusion from men, restriction to her home, avoidance of the sun, and finally a steam bath where female relatives and friends would ritually cleanse her and apply purifying henna to her hair, hands and feet for protection during the liminal passage from virginity to womanhood. Before her body was cleaned and adorned, however, the future bride received girlfriends in her parent's home for entertainments. Usually, girlfriends sang slow tizrrarin poetic verses, one soloist at a time and each following on the heels of the last; tizrrarin tended to morph into the faster paced agwal colective call and response musical genre, at which point the young women brought out improvised drums - any empty plastic or metal oil jug - to accompany their handclapping. These afternoon tended to be jolly but bittersweet as the lifelong friends joked, gossiped and told stories for hours on end, occasionally returning home from meals and chores, and otherwise biding time before the public weddings festivities. 

Excerpt From We Share Walls: Language, land, and Gender in Berber Morocco by Katherine E. Hoffman: A well researched book about Berber language, rural land, gender in Berber speaking Ishelhine of Southern Morocco. the book is available at amazon We Share Walls.

Rural Berber Morocco


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