Thousands of people attended the Tan-Tan Moussem this year, an annual festival celebrating nomadic culture, which took place from June 14 to June 19 in the desert town of Tan-Tan in southern Morocco.
Tan-Tan – The Tan-Tan Moussem is an annual gathering of nomadic tribes from Morocco and from other parts of north-west Africa.
Originally a spontaneous meeting of peoples, the gathering first took the form of a “moussem,” a celebration of a pious person, in 1963. It celebrated the life of Mohamed Laghdaf, a resistant to French and Spanish colonialism in the region, who is buried in a mausoleum in Tan-Tan.
The moussem was banned by authorities in 1979 due to political concerns in the region, but was revived in 2004 with the help of UNESCO and the Ministry for Tourism.
In 2008 it was listed on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list, which recognizes practices worldwide that celebrate cultural identity and promote respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.
This year once again, the festival organizers set up hundreds of nomad tents around a large arena just outside Tan-Tan, near the town’s camel racing track.
These powerful symbols of nomadic identity provided a place for different tribes and family groups to meet, and to shelter during the day from the sun and strong winds.
People flocked to watch camel and horse parades, tbouridas (a traditional Moroccan horsemanship performance), camel races, and cultural performances.
The guest of honour this year was Mauritania, present alongside the United Arab Emirates who funded the construction of the camel racing track in 2016.
In the center of town, festival participants sold crafts in an undercover market. Every evening, hundreds watched musical performances by Moroccan and regional artists at a stage on the main square.
The 2019 Tan-Tan Moussem was a vivid tribute to nomadic and saharan practices as well as a patriotic celebration of Moroccan cultural identity in the region.
2019 Tan Tan Moussem in Pictures