February 9, 2013
0503 MOROCCO - Fantasia or Game of Gunpowder
Fantasia is a traditional equestrian performance practiced during cultural festivals in Morocco, and occurs traditionally to close Berber wedding celebrations in Maghreb. Fantasia is an imported name (adopted probably to eliminate any military tint), the actual term used being lab el baroud (game of gunpowder). The performance is inspired from historical wartime attacks of Berber, but in nowadays it's considered a cultural art and a form of martial art. It also symbolizes the strong relationship between the man and the horse (very important in Arab countries), as well as the attachment to tradition.
It consists of a group of horse riders, wearing traditional clothes and charging along a straight path at the same speed so as to form a line; at the end of the ride (about 200m) all riders fire into the sky using old guns. The difficulty of the performance is in synchronization during the acceleration and especially during firing so that one single shot is heard. Gunpowder is called baroud (or barood), and the traditional gun is a moukahla (a flintlock rifle, appeared in southern Morocco in the late 19th century, made of wood, silver, steel, ivory and coral, measuring 1.55 m and using black powder), hence the name lab el baroud.
The horse is of the breed Barb, with great hardiness and stamina. Berbers say that "only men and virgin women are allowed to ride these magnificent animals", because non-virgins may cause the stallion to loose its power and speed. For that matter, the performance begins with a procession of riders, in front being the virgin women of the Zayanes (tribes known for their attachment to ancestral land and for their tenacity as warriors).
Each region in Morocco has one or several fantasia groups, called serba, totaling thousands of horse riders nationwide. Performances are usually during local seasonal, cultural or religious festivals, also called moussem (season). One of this is the Popular Arts Festival, which takes place in July at Marrakesh (actually outside the city walls, near the Bab Jdid), and another one in El Jadida (190 km south of Rabat).
About the stamp I wrote here.
Fantasia (culture) - Wikipedia
Fantasia in Morocco - Travel Exploration
sender: Hanane (direct swap)
sent from Taroudant (Morocco), on 23.11.2012