13 January 2013

North Africa: Maghreb Amazighs Welcome Yennayer 2963

Festivities for Yennayer ("Tabburt u seggas") kicked off across the Maghreb on Saturday (January 12th).

While many Algerian cities and villages hold festivities, the High Commission for Amazigh (HCA) each year selects one site for the country's official celebrations. For Amazigh New Year 2963, Timimoun was chosen as the host city, Liberte reported.

In the Kabylie region, where the Amazigh New Year is taken as a public holiday, celebrations kicked off on Thursday.

Morocco also marked Yennayer with a cultural and artistic event in Tiznit. Organised by the Taïri N'wakal Association, the New Year festivities included poetry readings and a concert of Amazighi music.

Meanwhile in Libya, the Libyan General National Congress (GNC) on Saturday marked the advent of New Year 2963 with a forum on the constitutional rights of the country's Amazigh community. GNC head Mohamed Magarief, Culture Minister Habib Mohammed Al-Amin, other government officials and representatives of the diplomatic missions in the country attended the event.

In his address, Magarief supported demands for the protection of Amazigh culture and voiced his personal opinion that the new constitution should recognise Tamazight as an official language.

The first day of year 2963 is a public holiday in the Libyan Amazigh towns of Jadu, Nalut, Yefren and Zwara, and in Tripoli suburbs with large Amazigh communities, such as Janzour.

Yennayer, derived from "Yiwen wayour" (the first of the month), is marked by copious meals and symbolic rituals, such as the sacrifice of a cockerel.

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