Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Morocco Monday Part II - A Spring Festival

So here is Part II of my Morocco Monday post.  From the beautiful town of Oualidia, we drove an hour east inland to my parents-in law`s house.  They, like all Moroccans are fantastic hosts and always greet you like you are a long lost relative even though you may only have seen them a couple of days before. My mother in law hugs like no other. The mantra goes that it is your home and don`t dare admire a single thing for it is likely to be thrust into your hands for you to keep.  I learned this lesson the hard way and have since disciplined myself to keep my mouth firmly shut.

My son loves visiting his grandparents, where he spends inordinate lengths of time in their garden chasing the chickens and collecting snails for newly discovered pockets.  There were certainly signs of spring...like this cherry blossom..
and this burgeoning fig tree...
...a lemon tree...
...a bee doing his work on the orange blossom...
...hens of the free-range variety...
...and a single poppy.
Admittedly, this poppy looks a little sad but when the poppies flower (we passed fields of them on the way and they were in no way sad), it signals the start of a special week long festival or moussem to celebrate the start of spring.  The festival includes a fantasia - a competitive tournament where riders dressed in traditional costume sit astride magnificent horses with harnesses pierced with gold and embroidered blankets swishing under the saddle.  Complete with gunpowder muskets, the riders line up...
and charge at full gallop in a straight line with muskets held aloft...
...before coming to an abrupt halt inches from the facing audience and firing their muskets at the same time in a deafening boom and a cloud of dust.  Despite this being repeated over and over, the audience never tire of this spectacle and the noise of the guns get you every time...
While most of the riders are men who are more than happy to pose and who love sashaying past you...
in a demonstration of equality of the sexes,women participate too...
...but after one bang too many, especially for little Z...
...it was back to the house for some lovingly prepared chicken couscous...
Hope you`re celebrating the first signs of spring in your part of the world and that your week goes with a bang!

2 comments:

Helen in Switzerland said...

Wow! It looks so cool!
And the chicken couscous looks more than a little delicious!!

susan said...

Oh I want that couscous AND the tagine it is in. Think if I dropped a subtle hint at your in-laws I would end up with it??? Can understand the need to learn restraint in complimenting things. I would be mortified if they actually gave it to me.