With a new year and a new decade upon us, I sat down with Meryam Demnati, an Amazigh activitist, to chat about a little-known New Year celebrated in here in Morocco – Yennayer – the Amazigh New Year for the latest episode of Why Morocco. Celebrated on 12 January by the native peoples of North Africa, Yennayer marks the shift from extreme cold and milder temperatures and is celebrated by Amazigh (sometimes referred to as Berbers) communities not only in Morocco, but throughout North Africa. Interestingly though, January 1 and the Islamic New Year are observed here in Morocco with official bank holidays, but Yennayer is not.
As an activist, Meryam also talks about the status of the Amazigh language and Tifinagh alphabet in Morocco, recognition of the Amazigh culture, and the causes the Amazigh movement has and continues to work on since post-independence in Morocco.
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