All around Morocco, one can discover inscriptions in foreign languages on structures and signage. Morocco’s “Technopark” is described on this plaque. Yes, there is such a thing. Fortunately, “Technopark” is pronounced “Teknubark” in Moroccan berber. This coincidence allows us to decipher the inscription. Some of the letters are recognizable if you read it from left to right. The zigzag and cross resemble the letters “T” and “E,” respectively. The final letter resembles a “K” almost exactly. The remaining letters are not recognizable as Latin letters and are unintelligible.
Berber dialects range widely. One of the seven Berber languages is spoken at a native level by around 90% of Berbers. Each of them varies somewhat from the others. In our country, we would call them dialects.
Numerous alphabets are used to write in the Berber languages. These several writing systems have been attempting to converge for many years. The “New Tifinag” alphabet, which was developed in Morocco in 2003, was the most successful attempt. New Tifinag is where the majority of Berber inscriptions in Morocco are created.
The Berber language is spoken and written by Moroccan berber.
The word “Berber,” which is connected to the word “barbarian,” originated in Greek and denoted any foreigner. The people’s self-name, of course, has no barbaric connotations. Amazigh, or free people, is how Berbers identify themselves.
People who live in freedom do so in diverse nations. The majority of Berbers, who number between 14 and 20 million, reside in Morocco. In second place with 9 to 13 million Berbers is Algeria. The other nations are far behind: France and Mauritania each have 2.5 million Berbers, while Libya is in third place with 4 million Berbers.
The Berber homeland is Morocco, which is appropriately so given that it is home to not only the majority of Berbers worldwide but also their entire population. That is a lot of details.
What distinguishes Berbers from other people and where do they live? We see colorful images of people wearing the traditional galabeya clothing and an indigo tagelmust.
This is a collective perception, as I noted in a general assessment of Morocco. The national attire of the Berbers is the tagelmust and galabeya. Few individuals wear them every day, though. The majority of Berbers reside in the desert, mountains, or open spaces. Rarely are expensive, beautiful garments worn in situations like this. They get soiled and torn quite soon. Only at holidays do they dress that way. Or perhaps it’s the way people dress in cities.
Although Berbers can be found all over Morocco, their natural habitat is in small rural towns and villages. Many of them live as hermits in the mountains and desert. But most people favor small communities.
Moroccan berber communities
They are sorely lacking in equipment. Power was only recently installed, and there is no asphalt or running water. Ourika is a typical Berber village located forty kilometers from Marrakech.
Plows, stupas, oil churns, knives, scythes, and millstones are just a few of the many utilitarian relics found in the Berber museum in Ourika.
Salah likes to figure out puzzles. He asks you to guess the nature of each object and its function as he leads you through the museum. You don’t always remember the right word, not even in your own language, let alone in English. In contrast, Salah says, “This one is called melnitis.”
However, Salah prefers to talk about Berber carpets. It turns out that whole stories are woven into these rugs.
Moroccan berber carpets
are a form of writing. The cipher is composed of two numbers. A rhombus represents a woman, while a triangle represents a man. The plot is organized around the rhombuses and triangles on the rug, which are repeatedly repeated.
The figures are then colored. Although it’s unclear what they imply, typically, green denotes paradise and blue denotes a child. Red denotes a woman, while yellow might potentially be a male.
The numerous pairings and repetitions of the characters and colors convey a clear narrative. For instance, this rug features rhombuses that are replicated on both sides. There are 24 rhombuses in all in the figure. The 24-year-old is encoded in this way.
There is a crude drawing of a man within. He has a rhombus-shaped head painted green to indicate that he is a lady. The body, however, is painted yellow.
The wife, who is 24 years old, is expecting a boy, as shown by the complete cipher. I received this rug as a birthday present.
The most fundamental motif is this. Only Berbers can differentiate between different types of carpets, which can be far more sophisticated. Salah’s explanation of the rugs to us took an hour.
By the way, these rags aren’t suitable for a rug; their composition is unknown. You might use plant stalks or strings. Such a carpet is uncomfortable to lay on, let alone use as a rug by the door. However, this rag acts as a carpet for Berbers because they are impoverished.
You might request Salah to give you a tour of his house if the carpets aren’t your style. For a small fee, the Berbers will gladly give you a tour of a truly appalling residence.
The residences of the Moroccan berber village
are produced out of nothing. It appears to be constructed of bricks, concrete, straw, and clay. There are just ruins and dirt nearby, and every construction is laughably flimsy and fragile.
Contrary to popular belief, Morocco is not always hot. Ourika is close to the Atlas Mountains and experiences a cold winter. The temperature is only +10 degrees Celsius when it is raining, but it could get chilly at night.
All the water entered through the unsteady clay homes. When it rains, they become flooded, which is annoying.
Even in the summer, the house is chilly. In order to stay cool in the summer, it is particularly constructed. Not every room in the house has adequate heating, even in the summer. As a result, stoves are found in every Berber home.
The stove is set up to heat both the house and the barn for the animals. In Morocco, the Berber people keep donkeys and cows in the cellars of their homes.
Of course, the animal odors are very incredible. You want to vomit as a result of it. Salah continues, “The heater heats the cattle, and when they exhale and dung, they also heat the house.”
Moroccan berber cuisine
There is another stove in the home. It is employed in the cooking process. When making flatbread or soup with meat, Berbers may cook the dish directly on a clay oven or in a pot.
There are many rooms in the house. The population reproduces and grows more effectively the poorer it is. Berbers frequently have large families with over a dozen members.
The house, however, has dark, warehouse-like rooms. To live in such conditions is really difficult.
In Berber communities, women are present. In between constructing a home, tending to the field, and strolling the animals, Berber women whip butter. The most delicious butter there is.
The butter churn receives the cow’s milk once it has been collected. The butter churn doesn’t resemble it does in the museum at all in real life. The butter is actually churned in a ten-liter plastic bottle hanging from the ceiling, despite the fact that there is a wooden mortar with a handle in the museum.
The butter is pounded for hours. Hours are spent by the woman shaking the butter churn back and forth over a little fire while sitting on a tiny chair.
Salt is added while the butter is being creamed. Rather than for flavor, this is done for storage. There are many years with a bad yield. The butter is therefore salted and kept in large barrels. The oil is produced from the salt and consumed if the year is terrible.
It turns out that the salty flavor of such butter is a natural outcome of the salting process rather than an afterthought. After being salted, the oil can’t be completely cleansed, thus it stays slightly salty.
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