- Title: ALGERIA-AMAZIGH NEW YEAR Berbers celebrate Amazigh New Year
- Date: 12th January 2015
- Summary: WOMEN STANDING NEXT TO THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE CULTURAL ASSOCIATION 'ISURAF' ALGERIAN FLAG HANGING IN THE SKY VARIOUS OF WOMEN WALKING AND SITTING IN THE ALLEYS OF THE VILLAGE VARIOUS OF WOMEN PREPARING COUSCOUS
- Embargoed: 27th January 2015 12:00
- Location: Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA9CZSN10DIL0BH5TJ045UXQD48
- Story Text: On Monday (January 12), Berbers celebrated the beginning of Amazighi New Year, known as Yennayer, with festivities across Algeria.
According to the tradition, the day marks an ancient victory of an Amazigh king named Chachnaq in a war against the Pharaoh Ramses III.
In Algeria, a small community in the mountain village of Ibouyesfene, celebrated the New Year with traditional food and music.
Berber customs are carefully cultivated by the older generation, said Djohar, a woman living in the village.
"We cultivate our traditions; what we used to do before, the Yennayer (Berber for New Year) traditions of our grandparents. They used to give it great attention. I wish a happy new year for everyone," she said.
Many Berber villages nowadays do not celebrate the Amazigh New Year. The custom has survived only as a traditional dinner shared at private homes with family.
Traditionally, women cook large amounts of couscous to be shared by the community.
"This is the couscous of Yennayer. All Amazigh people prepare it for the Amazigh new year. We do it as they use to do it before. We kept our traditions, we prepare couscous for all the people in the village and even for the others. And we cook couscous in two different ways. That's all. And welcome to everyone," says Hamadache Zahia, one of the cooks.
In Ibouyesfene a cooking contest of traditional dishes was organised.
"People tasted the traditional dishes and our grandmothers chose the two best dishes. Now we will distribute the gifts and certificates of merit to the winners," said Hamiti Makhlouf, one of the organizers.
Traditional jewellery and dresses were also sold.
Yahou Khela, the chairman of the cultural association of Ibouyesfene said the aim of the celebrations is to keep the tradition alive.
"The main aim of this event is the resurrection of the old traditions; and to preserve the Amazigh heritage specifically and the Algerian generally."
The Berber peoples are spread across North Africa and live in Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia speaking their own language - Amazigh.
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