Tam Tam Teenagers

Walking through the small streets of La Medina in Marrakech on the 10th day of Murahham (the Islamic calendar) you would be mistaken to think that a micro war has broken out, in fact, this is the exciting and friendly celebration of Achoura. Celebrated by all ages in a variety of ways around the Muslim world, this traditionally religious Jewish festival commemorates the day Noah left the ark and Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God.

Celebrations rein out the narrow alleyways filled with focused smiling children and teenagers grouped together playing trancing music on their Taarija (clay drums). Water fights and small exploding bangers are met with amusement from shop keepers and pedestrians during the day then the night lights up with organised Chaala (flame) where families will sit round fires playing the Taarija sometimes till the early morning.

Whereas for Shia Muslims where this is a day of pain an loss at the rememberence of the martyrdom at Karbala (Iraq) of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, these Sunni Muslim coutnries celebrate unusually and triumphantly as in Agadir which sees egg fights and a man they call Boujloud wearing the skin of a goat slaughtered at Eid scaring children

In a religion which seems to celebrate collectively very little compared with others, this powerful 10th day of the new year brings together young and old, families and communities making La Medina a vibrant and exciting place to be.

An atmospheric Riad hotel is the perfect place to stay in Marrakech. The young drummers pictured are standing outside the Henna Cafe in the Bab Doukala district of the old town.

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