I am sure if you are planning to go on a trip to Morocco, you must have heard of the Berbers. We on MYrago have a couple of experiences with Berber families. I was very intrigued when I started seeing our amazing ambassadors’ talk about their rich culture & wanting to promote it. Feeling uncultured, I began reading up about them and came across some really mind blowing information! The below is my breakdown of the Berber culture & its significance to the Moroccan heritage. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing about it!
Berber, also called Amazigh (not to be confused with Amazing but given what they have achieved, you could call them that!) are descendants of pre-Arab inhabitants of North America and are related to ancient Egyptians. They have been around for at least 4,000 years and been called by many names – Libyans by Greeks, Africans by Romans and Moors by medieval Europeans. They got their now final name Berber from Arabs – a play on Barbarians since they spoke different language than the Arabs.
The Berbers are a very proud group, having fought Arabs, French, Romans and despite undergoing attempts of colonization, have strived to preserve their language & culture. Speaking of language, they speak in Berber a predominantly oral language – the last writing system associated with Berber dates back to 2,500. Most of the Berbers live in mountains of Morocco – predominantly around the Atlas Mountain region.
So lets talk about their delicious food - Berber Food is an extremely important element of the Moroccan culture. It has its own special way of being cooked, ingredients to be used and spices to be added. Food is usually cooked in mud oven made with cow manure. It is heated by burning branches of surrounding trees or on charcoal but that is only during special occasions. Some of the most distinctive spices in Berber food are cinnamon and cardamon
Two of the most famous Berber dishes are Couscous and Tajine. Couscous is usually preferred during lunch should always be warm and with vegetable sauce. It is made out of wheat grains; vegetables and local meat except for Pork (please don’t ask a Moroccan family to ever make pork for you, it will be frowned upon). Tajine on the other hand, is usually preferred during dinner since it is a heavy dish which is to be eaten with family to celebrate & cherish the time together. It consists of plums, and local meat such as chicken or lamb. Both of these dishes are served & eaten in Tagine pot – tall, conical earthenware pot that is used to slow cook food as well as to eat from.
If this blog has got your mouth watering & heart filled with the desire to learn more about this culture, hop on over to Morocco and participate in our experience where you get to visit a Berber village and Cook traditional couscous & tajine with a really cute Berber Granny. Look at her! You cannot say no to her!