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The Berber New Year

Today, I want to wish a happy Yennayer (or Yennair) to Mallorca’s Berber community. This year, January 13th marks the first day of the Amazigh (the word for Berber) calendar, the first month being called Yennayer. A Happy New Year then.

We don’t usually know Berber people as such because we tend to identify them as Moroccans or Arabs when in fact they are neither. Berber are indigenous Peoples of the Maghreb in North Africa and may happen to be nationals of Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali or Niger.

There are quite a number of Moroccans living in Felanitx where I reside. I used to think of them as Moroccans until I inquired a bit further (I am a nosy person, you know) and found out that a large proportion of Felanitx Moroccans are in fact of Berber descent. I suspect that most of them will feel in a festive mood today, this being the beginning of Amazigh Year 2962 in their culture.

The photo (top) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of mca-hotels.com. The image (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of amazic-catala.blogspot.com.

Thank you very much,

molts gràcies, and

sahit.

2 replies »

  1. Very interesting to hear of the New Year celebrations by Berbers in Mallorca. In fact the Berber heritage in Mallorca extends further back than the recent migration of Moroccans (many of them Berbers) to the island. Back in the 9th century AD settlers from north Africa moved into Andalusia and the Balearic islands, mostly Berbers from Mauretania (land of the Maures or Moors). The Moors invaded Mallorca in AD 902 and remained in control until AD 1229. Although many were slaughtered by the incoming Christians under King James, undoubtedly some of the rural population were spared, converted to Christianity and inter-married with the incoming Aragonese and Catalans. It would be interesting to know how far DNA and modern genetics can confirm the continuation of a Moorish (Berber) substrate in the Mallorcan population.

    • hi tim,
      i have always had an interest in the influence of the moorish period in mallorca. you can find a number of my blog entries under the tag ‘islam’ in the blog archive.
      nevertheless, your comments are much appreciated.
      klaus

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