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Lesson Transcript

Munia: Hello, Munia here.
Yasin: And Yasin here. Welcome to a new episode of this Culture series fully dedicated to Moroccan culture.
Munia: Each lesson is recorded in the amazing city of Casablanca, and each time we’ll introduce a new topic on the customs, traditions and the rich culture of Morocco.
Yasin: Thank you for joining us.

Lesson focus

Munia: Today we’re going to talk about an interesting festival specific to a [بربر] tribal village in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
Yasin: It’s called The Festival of [ إملشيل], [ إملشيل] being the name of the village where it takes place every year.
Munia: The festival is also known as Festival of Brides and it’s more popular under this name.
Yasin: It has gained national and international popularity and every year it attracts masses of tourists coming from all over the world to attend days of tribal wedding ceremonies.
Munia: At the end of each summer, in its valet at 200 meters of altitude, the Festival of Brides has been the opportunity for women living in this tribal area to choose a husband for the rest of their lives before the heavy winter snow isolates the tribes from the rest of the country.
Yasin: This festival is a huge cultural celebration and [ إملشيل] is a cultural symbol of the region.
Munia: Do you know the origin of this festival, Yasin?
Yasin: I know it’s a legend that glorifies love…
Munia: Well, the legend of the festival is inspired from real historical fights between the [بربر] tribes of the region that led to many inter-tribal wars.
Yasin: Right, and there were two clans of a tribes called [آيت يازا ] and [آيت إبراهيم] engaged in a constant war.
Munia: Now, a woman from one clan fell in love with a man from the other. And because of constant wars, their parents refused to let them marry.
Yasin: And their broken hearts led to many tears that form two famous lakes that exist today.
Munia: One is called [تيسليت], referring to the woman.
Yasin: And the other is called [إيسليت], referring to the young man.
Munia: It’s like a Moroccan version of Romeo and Juliet, with the same tragic destiny.
Yasin: Yes, and this act of desperation led parents to grant all your generations to come, men and women, the freedom to choose their partner.
Munia: And since then the Festival of Brides has been not only an occasion for men and women to tie the knot, but also an important business event.
Yasin: When is it celebrated?
Munia: At the end of the harvest season, in the beginning of September.
Yasin: Oh, so that’s coming up soon.
Munia: Yes, Yasin. But I think the brides have a preference for tribal men of the region.
Yasin: I was thinking it would be interesting go and see.
Munia: I agree. For travelers who are willing to make the trip to this gorgeous area in the mountain, but also hard to access, it’s really worth it.
Yasin: Where is it exactly?
Munia: It’s about 110 miles south-east of Casablanca, in the Atlas Mountains. No trains go there and it’s best to join a tour bus or hire your own car.
Yasin: And what can one expect?
Munia: A big gathering of tribes of the region, a lot of dance performances, marriage rituals, there’s also a [سوق] or a marketplace as we call it here, in Morocco, where traditional [بربر] items are sold.
Yasin: The marriage ceremonies can last up to five days, right?
Munia: There’re many rituals like sheep offering…
Yasin: And the big [حنّة] night when the bride and her female guests get henna tattoos.
Munia: And you can also try different foods as a guest.
Yasin: But don’t you think it’s becoming a little bit commercial?
Munia: Unfortunately, yes, but it’s still worth the visit.
Yasin1: One last thing - what is the festival called in Arabic?
Munia: Good question, Yasin. It’s called [موسم] . [موسم إملشيل] is Arabic for “festival”, although in Standard Arabic we pronounce it [مَوْسِمْ].
Yasin: [موسم إملشيل] I can’t wait to go.


Munia: All right, that’s it for today. We hope you enjoyed today’s lesson.
Yasin: As always, let us know what you think. [إلى اللّقاء]
Munia: [مع السّلامة]