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Three Berber calendars, all of them refer to the Shoshenq era (Gregorian + 950).
|Official name||Aseggwas Amaziɣ|
|Also called||Amazigh New Year|
|Observed by|| Algeria |
Yennayer is the first month of the Amazigh Year (Berber languages : Aseggwas Amaziɣ, ⴰⵙⴳⴳⴰⵙ ⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖ) or the Amazigh year used since antiquity by the Imazighen in North Africa. Its first day corresponds to the first day of January of the Julian Calendar, which is shifted thirteen days compared to the Gregorian calendar, i.e. 14 January of every year.
Probably due to a mistake of the first cultural associations asking to return to this traditional celebration, the opinion that the traditional date is the evening of 13 January which is very widespread especially in Morocco, Libya and the Canary Islands. Whereas in Algeria is 12 January. On 27 December 2017, Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika decided to recognize Yennayer as a public holiday celebrated on 12 January of every year.
The Berber Academy was based on the fact that North Africans used to celebrate Yennayer every year, decreeing it as "Amazigh New Year". It was Ammar Negadiwho put forward a Berber calendar in 1980, based on a landmark event in the history of the Amazigh people, an undeniable historical fact to make it the zero point of the calendar. His choice fell on the year 950 BC, which corresponds to the date when the Berber king Shoshenq I (ⵛⵛⵏⵈ) (also spelled Chichnaq or Chichneq) was enthroned Pharaoh of Egypt and founded the XXII Dynasty which reigned over Egypt until the year 715 BC. This Berber king had managed to unify Egypt and then invade Judah. It is said of him that he seized the treasures of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem in 926 BC. This date is mentioned in the Bible and would be, therefore, the first date of Berber history on written support. King Sheshonq is mentioned in the Bible under the name of Sésaq and Shishaq (שִׁישַׁק) in ancient Hebrew this version remains highly contested. Another version that indicates that the origin of this festival is only a tradition that celebrates the day when we begin to pick the olives
Yennayer means first month, deriving from Amazigh, Yan = One and Ayyur = month.
Yennayer is very widespread in the Berber world. It is considered as national celebration. The Berber year 2971 corresponds to the present year 2021. It is a bank holiday in Algeria.
The meal prepared for this circumstance is hearty and different from the everyday ones. The rites are done in a symbolic manner. They aim to eliminate the famine, to augur the future and the change, and to warm welcome the invisible forces the Berber believed in.
For the preparation of " imensi n yennayer ", meaning dinner of January, the Kabyle uses the meat of the sacrificed animal (asfel) to complement the couscous, a fundamental element of the Berber culinary art. The participants of the evening in the Souss area (South Morocco) will be able to enjoy the Berber gastronomy by feasting of Tagula, a dish made of barley with rancid butter and Argan oil. And Berkukes, a dish prepared with vegetable and pasta in the form of grains.
Yennayer symbolizes longevity, and it is often the occasion to include other familiar events:
The Berber languages, also known as the Amazigh languages, are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related languages spoken by the Berbers, who are indigenous to North Africa. The languages were traditionally written with the ancient Libyco-Berber script, which now exists in the form of Tifinagh.
Couscous is a Berber dish of small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina that is traditionally served with a stew spooned on top. Pearl millet and sorghum, especially in the Sahel, and other cereals can be cooked in a similar way and the resulting dishes are also sometimes called couscous. Pearl or Israeli couscous, properly known as ptitim, is a type of pasta.
Tifinagh is an abjad script used to write the Berber languages.
Berbers or Imazighen are an ethnic group native to North Africa and West Africa, specifically Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, northern Mali, northern Niger, and the Canary Islands. Smaller Berber populations are also found in Burkina Faso and Egypt's Siwa Oasis.
Kabyle, or Kabylian, is a Berber language spoken by the Kabyle people in the north and northeast of Algeria. It is spoken primarily in Kabylia, east of the capital Algiers and in Algiers itself, but also by various groups near Blida, such as the Beni Salah and Beni Bou Yaqob.(extinct?)
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The Amazigh (Berber) cuisine is a traditional cuisine with a varied history and influence of numerous flavours from distinct regions across North Africa. The traditional cuisine draws influences from Morocco's Atlas mountains and heavily populated Berber cities and regions, as well as Algeria's Berber cities and regions.
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The Berber calendar is the agricultural calendar traditionally used by Berbers. It is also known as the fellaḥi. The calendar is utilized to regulate the seasonal agricultural works.
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Dr. Michael Peyron is a specialist in the field of Berber language, literature and culture. He is also well known as a writer on tourism in Morocco.
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