Qurbani

Qurbani

It was almost 2 years ago that I was in Morocco on the occasion of the Muslim celebration of Eid al Adha,  more commonly known as the Feast of Sacrifice, a celebration of significant importance in the Arab world which marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

I had crossed into Africa by ferry from the Spanish port of Tarifa and completely by accident found myself at the beginning of the preparations for the festival in Tangier.   Sheep and goats were herded through the city streets,  loaded into cars and busses and chased through the colourful narrow streets of the medina.  Adults and children were excited as the animals neared their own homes,  children rushed to greet them and local families keenly watched as sheep and goats were tethered outside in the medina.  Residential areas became temporary livestock quarters.   In the Muslim cemetery adjacent to the strikingly green Marshan Mosque hundreds of feted but fey animals grazed on the grasses between gravestones,  shepherds watching and ensuring their short term safety.  Walking back into the city, the spinning wheels of grinding machines noisily announced the incipient celebration as men queued with knives at the roadside hardware shops lining the Avenue d’Anglettere.

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Chefchaouen Blue City : New Book

Chefchaouen Blue City : New Book

Following considerable time spent in Morocco, and the accumulation of many images, it became compelling to try to undertake a more permanent presentation of some of the photographs taken. The most moving experience for me was the time spent in Chefchaouen, in the Rif mountains, where the city is predominently painted in variants of the colour blue. It is thought that this application of blue was started by Jewish inhabitants who considered blue to be closer to heaven, and the colour was applied liberally throughout the city. There is also considerable parts of the nearby coastal city Essaouira painted blue, and this is a city recognised as the site of primary occupation of Jewish communities throughout Morocco. Perhaps there is a correlation.

My time in Chefchaouen was made infinitely more cheerful by staying within a traditional Moroccan building called the Small White Palace. (more…)