Amazigh Population in Libya Celebrate Their New Year

North Africa

Across North Africa, many countries celebrated Yennayer, the Amazigh New Year 2969. The occasion was marked by big celebrations in Morocco, Algeria and Libya.

Earlier this week, people across North Africa came out onto the streets to celebrate the Amazigh New Year, known as Yennayer, which translates as ‘January’.

The celebrations were greeted by joyous festivities, in particular in Morocco, Libya and Algeria, where there is a significant Amazigh minority.

The Amazigh people, commonly known by many people as Berbers, are an indigenous people to North Africa, and some areas of western Africa, and are the descendants of North Africa’s pre-Arab populations.

While they are not a wholly homogenous people, they have shared language and history, and refer to themselves as Amazigh, meaning ‘noble’ or ‘free’ people, rather than the term Berber, which has its roots in the Greek word barbaros, meaning barbarian.

In Algeria, in particular, the day is a national holiday after its official ratification by the former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on December 27th 2017.

While Bouteflika resigned in April 2019 amidst widespread protests against his 20-year rule, the celebration have been no less dampened.

In Morocco, people celebrate by eating the well-known dish Tagola, which is a dish consisting of corn kernels, argan oil, honey and ghee, and cooked with butter.

On the first day, another popular dish, Orikmen, is eaten. This is only ever eaten on the first day of Yennayer and is a thick soup that consists of fava beans and wheat.