Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Morocco Berbers mark New Year, call for public holiday  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 12/01/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) Thirty months after winning official recognition for their ancient Amazigh-language in a new constitution, Morocco's Berbers are pushing for January 13, when they celebrate their New Year, to be made a public holiday.Festivities are planned in several cities around the North African country, including the capital Rabat, said activist Mounir Kejji, with Monday marking the first day of year 2964 for the region's indigenous pre-Arab inhabitants.The other gatherings will take place mainly in parts of the country with concentrated Berber populations, such as Agadir and Tiznit in the southwest.But more than just a celebration and a way of reaffirming their cultural identity, it will also be a chance for the Amazigh community to demand that this day is given its proper place in the national calendar, said Kejji.In 2011, in response to Arab Spring protests sweeping Morocco, King Mohamed VI introduced a new constitution which acknowledged Amazigh as an official language of the state alongside Arabic, a major achievement for a tongue that was once banned in schools.But the Islamist-led government has yet to pass the required legislation to implement the initiative, which would see Amazigh integrated into teaching and other areas of public life.

A decade earlier, the king had signalled his support for Morocco's indigenous Berber culture in a historic speech in the northern town of Ajdir.Morocco hosts the largest numbers of Berbers, who live in scattered communities across North Africa -- including in Algeria and Libya -- but there are no official estimates of the size of the population.A census taken in 2004 showed that 8.4 million Moroccans spoke an Amazigh dialect daily, or around a quarter of the country's total population.In Morocco "we want the Amazigh New Year to be considered a public holiday, following the example of other calendars," Meriem Demnati, another activist, told AFP. "With the constitution's recognition of Amazigh, this is a legitimate demand," said Ahmed Boukous, director of IRCAM, the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture, which was founded in 2001 and spearheaded the campaign to have the language recognised.Anthropologists say the possible historical roots of the Berber New Year, known as Yennayer, are difficult to establish with any precision.

"Some historians link it to the enthronement as pharaoh of the Amazigh king Chachnaq after defeating Ramses III," believed to have happened in 950 BC, said archaeologist Mostafa Ouachi."For others it corresponds to what is known in Morocco as the agricultural calendar, celebrated around January 13," said the Rabat University professor.Boukous said that the New Year celebration is a "festival that marks the reaffirmation of some important aspects of agrarian society, a return to the land".It's a way for the Amazigh to "refresh their collective memory," he added.Ahmed Assid, an academic and activist who supports calls for a "national holiday," said the traditional Berber New Year celebration had developed into a political cause."If the 1st of (Islamic month of) Moharram is a holiday in Morocco, and the 1st day of the Christian calendar is a holiday, why shouldn't the 1st day of the Amazigh New Year be also?" he asked.The head of IRCAM says that for the moment, in the absence of any proposal to "formalise" the event, "there is no official position on the subject," leaving the activists to push on with their campaign.The youth wing of the Amazigh Network for Citizenship (Azetta) launched a petition earlier this month, according to Moroccan newspaper Liberation.The daily said that around 100 groups are expected to celebrate Yennayer around the country.

 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Jul 1 2015 - Ban Ki-Moon Appeals for Implementing Geneva Communique on SyriaQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon has called on to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and to find an exit from this madness. In a statement read by a ...

 Jul 1 2015 - UN: 137,000 Flee Across Mediterranean in First Half YearQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) Some 137,000 fled across the Mediterranean to Europe in the first half of the year, nearly double the amount seen in the same period last year, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said ...

 Jul 1 2015 - Lebanese Army Kills Five Nusra Gunmen in Arsal OutskirtsQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) The Lebanese Army killed five militants in northeastern border town of Arsal, while they were attempting to sneak between Arsal and its outskirts, the Army said in a statement ...

 Jul 1 2015 - Jordan- Cooking gas cylinders' price reduced, gasoline's price unchangedJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Cooking gas cylinders' price will be reduced, while fuel prices will remain unchanged through the month of July, Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply, Maha Ali, ...

 Jul 1 2015 - US to Remove Ban on Security Aid to BahrainJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) The United States lifted its ban on sending security aid to the government of Bahrain due to progress on human rights issues, US State Department spokesperson John Kirby ...

 Jul 1 2015 - Obama offers help to TunisiaJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) US President Barack Obama offered condolences to Tunisian leader Beji Caid Essebsi Monday, after the militant attack that killed 38 people and left the future of the ...

 Jul 1 2015 - Jordan - Moderate weather forecast until FridayJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) The weather will be moderate on Wednesday in the hilly areas, relatively hot in the Badia, and hot in the Jordan Valley and Aqaba, with northwesterly moderate ...

 Jul 1 2015 - Jordan- The Amman Stock Exchange starts trading on higher noteJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) The Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) opened trading on Wednesday with a rise to 2117 points compared to 2115 points of last session closure, according to market sources.The ...

 Jul 1 2015 - Israeli forces move into Deir al-BalahJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday morning made an incursion into east of Deir al-Balah in the central of the Gaza Strip.Palestinian sources said that Israeli ...

 Jul 1 2015 - Jordan- Exports from Zarqa reach JD30 million in MayJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) The value of commodities re-exported with a certificate of origin from the Zarqa Chamber of Commerce and the chamber's office at the Free Zone in Zarqa, reached JD30 ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help