It’s wedding season in Morocco! Over the past month I’ve attended three different weddings in my site, each one more fun than the last. Each of these weddings was a traditional Amazigh celebration unique to my region of Morocco, which means they look quite a bit different than the weddings fellow volunteers in northern Morocco attend or that you may have seen on television or movies. Festivities in my region can last from several days to over a week, and are generally segregated by gender. Most of the celebrations I have attended have been all-female gatherings where we celebrate the bride.
Click here to listen to an audio clip from one of the weddings and let me paint the scene for you . . .
Sitting cross-legged, side by side with more than two hundred women on top of vibrant carpets underneath a giant green and red tent
Wearing a black adgar, a colorful saya, and silver dangling jewelry
Smelling incense burning on a small charcoal stove wafting over the crowd
Listening to music being played on circular handheld drums, large drums that sit on the floor, and a small butane gas tank (with spoons)
Watching the women stand up and dance, shoulders and hips moving rhythmically in unison
Passing around bottles of perfume
Hearing the sounds of the Moroccan clap, with its distinct pop as their palms touch
Admiring the beautiful scenery surrounding us as we sit near the edge of the dry riverbed, nestled within a grove of date palms and pomegranate trees
Arranging ourselves around small octagonal tables to eat dinner
Scooping warm couscous laden with vegetables out of a wide communal dish with my right hand, forming a small ball of deliciousness, and popping it into my mouth
Breaking off bread and dipping it into a beef tagine, our second course
Spilling the fruits of a fresh pomegranate as I crack open its outer shell, our final course
Kissing several times on each cheek the women that I know as we exchange goodbyes
Smiling broadly, feeling blessed to take part of such beautiful traditions