By Bader Oulamine
By Bader Oulamine
Rabat – A philosopher said: “The history is all we have left when we have lost everything,” We should preserve and revive the components of identity, culture and history so that they would never be taken to the tomb.
This task has nothing to do with exclusion, because humanity and the world are but an accumulation of various components that create the world in which we live.
January is the month chronicling the passage to the New Year for the Amazighs. It is on the 13th each year, and the day has gained a universal character that is due to changes in periods and cycles of plants at different seasons. Compared to the rest of world civilizations, the Amazigh day is much older.
On January 13th in 950 BC occurred a political event of a great importance for the Amazigh, with their profuse presence in the Pharaonic armies. They imposed themselves and influence over the kings of ancient Egypt, and succeeded thus in extracting the right to practice their own rituals as the burial of the dead; acts of spirituality that were very important at that time.
Indeed, around 950 BC with the death of the pharaoh Psusennes II, an Amazigh warrior called Shoshenq ascended the throne of Egypt and subjected all the Nile Delta under his control, including priesthood of Egypt.
He founded his capital Bobastis and due to the concern of respecting the traditions of the Pharaohs, his son married Princess Macara, daughter of the late Psusennes II.
For the Amazighs, “January,” first and foremost, is the opening of the New Year and celebrating it has not lost its value and importance. For us, for example, some Amazigh are reluctant to eat food cooked with spices for fear that the coming year would have the same taste of the food. However, the food that is provided, we believe, symbolizes the wealth, fertility or abundance of life and the bounties of God.
January is also the month of a large number of activities. Until recently, we put outside the home or on the roofs, pots filled with salt where the number of grains of salt symbolize the number of months of the year. Moreover, we send children to the fields to reap the fruits or vegetables on their own.
A few days ago, my brother Hatime insisted in reviving one of the most important traditions we do during that day; it is having couscous with the seven vegetables.
At dinner, the whole family gathers around one table and starts eating couscous knowing that there is inside of the couscous the endocarp of a date. The one who finds it will be lucky for the rest of the year. We always let the children find it.
January is primarily an opportunity to meet and celebrate the New Year in a full Amazigh way. It is also the opportunity to remind each other of the duty, struggle and sacrifice in order to preserve the Amazigh identity.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Bader Oulamine is an English teacher, from Azrou, province of Ifrane in Morocco. He holds a B.A. in English studies from Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fes. In 2007, he joined Benedictine University, Illinois, where he studied leadership and communication and earned a Master’s degree in communication. He is interested in culture, politics, English and Mathematics. He is a contributor to Morocco World News.
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