Local traditions and culture in Wilaya de Ghardaia

  • Marriage with the groom on a camel
    Marriage with the groom on a camel
    by JLBG
  • Marriage with the bride on a camel
    Marriage with the bride on a camel
    by JLBG
  • Mozabites
    Mozabites
    by JLBG

Most Viewed Local Customs in Wilaya de Ghardaia

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    Marriage with the groom on a camel

    by JLBG Written May 29, 2006

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    Actually, this marriage looked strange : the groom (the one I suppose to be the groom!) is not clothed as a Mozabite but as a Touareg. Though they are both Berbers, no Mozabite would clothe that way (look at the parade on previous tips). Touaregs are Sunnite Moslems and not Ibadites as the Mozabites. They do not hide their women who even do not wear a scarf. The groom is the only one clothed as a Touareg and all those on horse back are clothed as Mozabites.

    Traditionally, Mozabites are strictly endogamous and Mozabites women cannot marry a non Mozabite. It is now more or less admitted that a Mozabite men can marry a Moslem girl outside the community but for the Mozabite girls, it is still a NO NO.

    Then what? I have no clue to explain this marriage.

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    Marriage with the bride on a camel

    by JLBG Written May 29, 2006

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    There were two camels and several horses. One camel was fitted with a "bassour". A bassour is a chamber made of a frame of reeds covered with curtains and fitted on a camel. It has usually two seats, one of each side of the camel but can have only one (here), where the bride is completely hidden.

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    Marriage parade in oued M'zab

    by JLBG Written May 29, 2006

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    On another occasion, we were lucky to watch a Mozabite marriage. Actually, I at first saw camels and horses that went away (this photo). I quickly started my car and hurried by another street to be in front of them and see them coming towards me.

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    Ghardaïa, parade with a beard!

    by JLBG Written May 29, 2006

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    The big man with a beard looks very imposing and not only because of his beard spread on his chest with much authority. His gun as well as the one of his companion (second photo) is of a very special kind and very different from those seen on the previous tips. The gun itself is much wider and when shot it is very noisy. It looks as if the had been designed only for parades!

    On the third photo, in the background a photo of a Mozabite woman. She is entirely hidden under her gown and has only a small triangular hole for her left eye!

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    Ghardaïa, parade with music

    by JLBG Written May 29, 2006

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    The sound of the shootings was obviously not enough an drummers added to the noise. The drum used here is a "darbouka". A darbouka is a drum which body is made either of wood (here) or of earthenware. The wider end acts as a resonance chamber, closed by a tighten goatskin. The musician hits the skin with the palm of his hands.

    Behind the darbouka player, a man seems (not clearly shown) to be playing a flute.

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    Ghardaïa, more shooting

    by JLBG Written May 29, 2006

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    The little old man was shooting like mad and obviously enjoyed it a lot! As soon as he had shot, did he loaded again his gun, which took a few minutes and shot again, still dancing all the time!

    Others were quieter, such as the man on the third photo. He does not seem to enjoy himself to perform a boring job!

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    Ghardaïa, parade with guns

    by JLBG Written May 29, 2006

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    I am not an expert in guns but obviously, the gun used for the celebration were of an old brand. They loaded the guns with black powder by the muzzle and pushed on top some paper that they packed down with a stick. Thus, shooting is noisy but not dangerous!

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    Ghardaïa, a parade

    by JLBG Written May 29, 2006

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    On one of our visits, we were lucky to watch a parade. Unfortunately, I have been unable to learn what was the parade about. Spectators were gathered along the main street in Ghardaïa. If you enlarge the photos, you will see that several had guns and from time to time, they shot towards the ground.

    The last photo is a close-up that shows an example of what I wrote in the introduction of this page. On this photo, 4 out of 6 Mozabites wear thick glasses. Three wear traditional clothes, the other three are clothed in the European style.

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Wilaya de Ghardaia Local Customs

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