Who Are The Berbers?The Berbers call themselves Amazigh and they havebeen around for at least 4000 years living in North Africa.Today most Berbers live in Morocco and Algeria.They believe they are warriors because they foughtagainst the Romans, Arab, and French invaders who triedto control them but they won and didn’t get conquered.Because the Berber people have never been conqueredthey have been able to keep their own language andculture!!
What Is The Berber Language?The Berber’s languages are French, Tamazight, and thelanguage taught in school- Arabic.The Berbers have 300 dialects used in their language. Thethree main dialects used in Morocco are Tachelhit,Tamazight and Tarifit.It is difficult to find Berber writing even though its beenaround for over 2500 years – the Berber language is mostlyoral.A problem for many of the Berber children is that they dropout of school because in school they teach in Arabic and notin their dialect.
Berber MusicThere are three different types of music in the Berberculture: village music, ritual music and the musicperformed by professional musicians.1) Village music is for dancing and the instruments include drums and flutes. These dances begin with a chanted prayer.2) Ritual music is performed at ceremonies like marriages and other important events. Ritual music is also used to protect themselves against evil spirits.
Berber Music Continued3) Professional musicians travel in groups of four and led by apoet also known as “amydaz”. The amydaz creates poemsspontaneously. Drums, a fiddle and a double clarinet are beingplayed while he performs. The person playing the double clarinetacts like the clown for the band.
Ancient Berber TombsThe Berbers and their ancestors believed in life after death.At first bodies were buried in little holes. But the Berbersrealized that the bodies were being dug up by wild animalsso they started burying them in deeper holes.Over the years they buried the dead in caves, tombs inrocks, and mounds. Soon these simple tombs became verydetailed and large especially for the important people in theBerber communities.
Ancient Berber TombsThe best known Berber pyramid is the"Tomb of the Roman Woman”
What Do The Berbers Look Like?What makes them different than the other people in NorthAfrica is their body build and their skin color. They arethin and smaller size and their skin color can range fromwhite to dark brown.
Berber Weddings The Berber wedding takes up to 7 days to prepare. There are many important things to do during these 7 days. One is to pay for the “dowry” which is when the groom pays the bride’s family with gifts. If the family is very rich, the bride gets gold jewelry and furniture for their home. Five days before the wedding the bride gets a “hammam” which is like a milk bath to prepare for her wedding day. The day of the wedding the bride and her bridal party get their hands painted with henna and the grooms name is hidden in the henna design.
What Did I LearnI learned that the Berber people are strong because theyhave never been conquered. They have existed for 4000years and they have over 300 dialects. Their culture isvery different from their wedding ceremonies to the burialprocess.This is different than the Americans because the UnitedStates is about 200 years old and we don’t have dialects.Our wedding ceremonies last a day and we don’t havetombs for burial sites.