September 26, 2015

0545, 1914 MOROCCO - Berber women

1914 Morocco - A Berber woman

Posted on 08.03.2013, 26.09.2015
Even if is practical almost entirely Islamic, the Moroccan society isn't a conservative one, and has no particular rules, but the Moroccans have kept alive the custom to wear the traditional dress. As in all Maghreb, the overwhelming majority of the Moroccans (99%) is considered to be Arab-Berber, with an Arab ethnic identity. However, probably that a third of the population is made up of Berbers, who aren't Arabs, but neither a homogeneous ethnic group, encompassing a range of phenotypes, cultures and ancestries. The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language, belonging to the Berber homeland, or a collective identification with the Berber heritage and history.

0545 Morocco - Young Berber woman from Imilchil

To can cope neighbors, many of the Berber tribes have united throughout history in large confederations. One of them is Ait Yafelman, which lives on the eastern High Atlas, its capital being Imilchi, now a small town, with less than 2,000 inhabitants, located in the valley of Assif Melloul (White River). The area is home of the Ait Hdiddou tribe, and the town, known for its Betrothal Festival (in the early days of September), represents a symbol of Berber culture. The legend say that two young from different tribes fell in love, but were forbidden to see each other by their families. The grief led them to cry themselves to death, creating the neighbouring lakes of Isli (his) and Tislit (hers), near Imilchil. The families decided to establish a day on the anniversary of the lovers' death - when members of local tribes could marry each other. Thus was born the Imilchil Marriage Festival.

In reality, the region is a scattering of tiny villages, and is difficult to find a partner, so the festival is a perfect place for that. Parents typically accompany young women and assist them in finding suitable partners. It's interesting that when a woman accepts a man's proposal to marry, she says "You have captured my liver". As regards the clothes, the traditional dress of the Berber women is different than other Moroccan women. Traditionally the Berber women were tattooed, cut bangs in their hair and wore beads, especially amber and cowrie shells, which protect them from the evil-eye, and also embroidered head scarves or veils, called tahruyt. Young women don't cover their faces (as can be seen in the postcard), as the older married women.

About the stamps
On the postcard 1914
The stamp is part of a series about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 0545
About the stamp I wrote here.

Imilchil - Wikipedia
Imilchil Wedding Festival - Hey Morocco
How Do Moroccan Women Dress? - E-How
Women's place in Morocco - Oasis de Mezgarne

Sender 1914: Patrik Hierner
Sent from Ouarzazate (Morocco), on 27.02.2014
Sender 0545: Hanane (direct swap)
Sent from Taroudant (Morocco), on 05.02.2012

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