Morocco celebrates Amazigh year.


To the delight of Amazigh activists who have struggled for decades to get their calendar acknowledged, Morocco’s royal palace announced on Wednesday that the start of the Amazigh year will be a paid vacation.

Morocco has the most Amazigh (Berber) people in North Africa, yet the state has favored Arabic and French above Amazigh language and culture for decades. This has spawned a flourishing Berber identity movement.

Protests in 2011 resulted in a new Moroccan constitution and compelled the monarch to relinquish some of his power to an elected government, both of which were Berber desires.

Historians think the anniversary of Libyan King Sheshonq’s ascension to the Egyptian throne falls on the first day of the Amazigh calendar, which is centered on the seasons and agriculture. The year 2973 begins on Sunday, January 1st.

On January 13, Arabic-speaking Moroccans also observe the start of the agricultural year. Activists bemoan the lack of usage of the Berber language in schools and administration, despite the fact that Morocco was the first Berber nation to acknowledge its ancient language.

The government has vowed to hire hundreds of Berber-speaking official clerks and has increased the language assistance budget for 2023 by 50%, to 300 million dirhams ($30 million).


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