If you have ever been to Aid Al Adha in Fez, you may have seen young men, wearing blood-spotted white djellabas, on their mules strolling through the streets of the spiritual capital to announce the start of the Feast of Sacrifice.
This is “Al hammarah”, a habit that perpetuates an ancestral rite, traditionally linked to Aïd-El-Kébir. “What joy did we have to see them mounted on their horses with their clothes full of blood”, rejoices Meryem Adlouni Alami, professor and Fassi researcher.
After three years marked by restrictions due to Covid19, Eid Al-Adha celebrations are making a comeback, to the delight of Moroccans. Each city in the kingdom has its own traditions that surround Eid al-Adha as well as delicious special recipes for the holiday.
The usual atmosphere that the Fassi are accustomed to living during this festival of sacrifice is again found. One of the most important festivities of the spiritual city is Al Hammarah, the name of a popular festival that has taken place for ages in the cities and countryside of Morocco, before gradually disappearing, except in the city of Fez where this tradition is rooted.
The custom usually begins on the morning of Eid El Kebir, after the prayer. “Being young, our father could not give us permission to attend this happy event: Slaughtering the sheep of Eid, unless the “hammarahs” passed announcing the start of this rite”, explains our interlocutor
The main characters of this rite are generally young people, between their twenties and their thirties, dressed in brand new white djellabas that are stained with blood. Their mission is to kick off the sacrifice. A signal to the townspeople to start slaughtering their sheep.
Traditional clothes are popular with Moroccans in general, and Fassis in particular, participants generally dress in their best clothes for the great rite.
In the spiritual capital, families do not skimp on the means to wear on D-Day clothes and clothes designed and made by the hands of master Moroccan craftsmen, renowned for their ancestral know-how.
“What joy was there to see them mounted on their horses with their new traditional clothes full of blood praising God, the merciful! And I am very happy that the city of Fez still keeps this remnant of rites and ancestral traditions,” comments the researcher.