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Morocco: The Ministry of Culture celebrates the Amazigh New Year

Fireworks during a festival to celebrate the Amazigh new year Tiznit, Morocco on 12 January 2015 [FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images]
Fireworks during a festival to celebrate the Amazigh new year Tiznit, Morocco on 12 January 2015 [FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images]

The Minister of Culture said that "there is a government discussion about adopting the Amazigh New Year as an official holiday, and we are waiting for the Prime Minister's decision."

On Thursday evening, the Moroccan Ministry of Culture and Communication celebrated the Amazigh New Year, through a symbolic festive event in the capital, Rabat.

During the celebration, Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, Mohamed Bensaid, inaugurated an art exhibition on the occasion of the Amazigh New Year 2972.

The exhibition, which was hosted by the Ministry of Culture, also witnessed the presence of a number of government officials, as well as a number of Amazigh activists in the country.

The event included the display of paintings reflecting the Imazighen culture, in addition to displaying traditional clothes and drawings that mimic the well-known customs of the Amazighs in Morocco, in addition to paintings informing about their history.

In an interview with media, including Anadolu Agency, Bensaid said that his Ministry chose to symbolically celebrate this occasion amid the Covid-19 pandemic, under which it was difficult to celebrate the Amazigh New Year more suitably.

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The Minister added that efforts are continuing at the level of Morocco to democratise the Amazigh language and to facilitate access to information through it.

Regarding the calls to adopt the Amazigh New Year as an official holiday, the Minister said that there is a discussion related to this matter within the government, and we are still waiting for the Prime Minister's decision.

After the exhibition, the Mohammed V Theatre in Rabat hosted a gala performance, during which a number of Amazigh musical scores were presented.

The Amazigh New Year is called "Eid Yanayer" (January Night), which corresponds to 13 January of each year.

Earlier on Thursday, the Moroccan government announced its commitment to complete the process of forming the Amazigh language as an official language in the Kingdom, and placing it within a clear national framework that is consistent with the provisions of the Constitution.

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This was stated by Prime Minister, Aziz Akhannouch, during the opening of the Government Council, which was held via teleconference technology, according to a government statement.

At the end of last December, Mustafa Baytas, the government spokesman, said that "the government has given significant hints about the promotion of the Amazigh language; he announced that an amount of one billion dirhams (100 million dollars) was allocated to activate the official trait of the Amazigh language.

Parties and civil organisations in Morocco are calling for adopting of the Amazigh New Year as a national day and an official holiday in the country, and to improve the conditions of the Amazigh language.

The Amazigh are indigenous peoples who inhabit the area extending from Siwa Oasis in western Egypt in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, and from the Mediterranean in the north to the Great Desert in the south.

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