10/28/05 - marriage in morocco

In today's excerpt - marriage in contemporary rural Morocco, high in the Atlas mountains:

"... on the border between the Middle and High Atlas mountain ranges ... the big event ... was the Fete des Fiancailles, the Ait Hadiddou tribal marriage market. ... There were no hotels or cafes, and we slept in huge goatskin tents with other visitors. It was like a big fair with thousands of visitors and animals milling about. Young men would seek out their brides from the crowd of girls, who were sometimes only twelve years old, flaunting tattoos and brash makeup, traditional silver jewelry and brightly colored gowns. The novelty of the occasion was the fact that the young women, particularly widows and divorcees, could also choose their grooms without parental negotiations.

"'Does the marriage souk still take place?' I ask the student ...

"Yes, indeed ... 'When I am ready to get married, I'll choose a girl from [the mountain village of] Imilchil because they know how to work,' Ohdouch said emphatically. 'The city girls go to school and don't want to work any more.' "


Marvine Howe


Morocco: The Islamist Awakening and Other Challenges


Oxford University Press, Inc.


Copyright 2005 by Marvine Howe


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