Akermoud : The Beginning of the Daour

Akermoud : The Beginning of the Daour

The first and starting zaouia of the annual Regraga pilgrimage ( Daour ) is found at Akermoud,  a small town to the north of Essaouira.  The zaouia contains the catafalque of Sidi Abdellah ou Hmad,  a Marabout saint.

The Regrega tribe leaders are the descendants of the saint apostles of Islam who, legend suggest, learnt the new religion of Islam on a visit to Mecca. Here they were told by the Prophet to spread Islam to the Maghreb. Every spring (March-April) the descendants carry out a pilgrimage which lasts 39 days and visits 44 sacred places in the region. Pilgrims visit a series of local shrines, from the mouth of the Tensift river south of Safi to the northern outskirts of the High Atlas, including the city of Essaouira .

It traditionally begins from the zaouia at Akermoud.

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Of Tea and Henna : A Nice Welcome

Of Tea and Henna : A Nice Welcome

For the first time whilst visiting shrines in the Chiadme region I had come across stalls selling items either as souvenirs or for consumption at the shrine as part of a ritual.  The shrine was in a small village called Sidi Abdeljalil some 3 kilometres from Talmest where the bus had dropped me.  I then travelled to Sidi Abdeljalil by calèche,  where the driver of the horse drawn cart allowed me to take the reins whilst he smoked a pipe of kiff.

The road was bumpy and twisty and the horse had a mind of its own.  The minimal instructions I had received were woefully inadequate and I was relieved to pass the reins back following his smoke.

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Sidi Ouasmine  :  The Sultan of Regraga

Sidi Ouasmine : The Sultan of Regraga

The annual pilgrimage around the locality of Essaouira every spring is called ‘ Regraga’,  a name which also describes the group of Chorfa ( a darija word denoting noble religious leaders descending from the Prophet Mohamed otherwise known as Sharif )  who make the pilgrimage annually.

The Regragas originate from Chiadma,  a region located on the Atlantic coast between Safi and Essaouira in the south of Morocco.  They are the descendants of the saint apostles of Islam who,  legend suggest, learnt the new religion of Islam on a visit to Mecca.  Here they were told by the Prophet to spread Islam to the Maghreb.  Every spring (March-April) the descendants carry out a pilgrimage which lasts 39 days and visits 44 sacred places in the region. Pilgrims visit a series of local shrines, from the mouth of the Tensift river south of Safi to the northern outskirts of the High Atlas, including the city of Essaouira .

The Pilgrimage contains two groups;  one group stops at every shrine on the way where they build a holy tent of palm fibres which is then dyed with henna.  The other group arrives in procession with a moqadem (religious leader) riding a white horse.

The Daour  (tour) of Regraga starts in the zaouia of Sidi Abdellah ou Hmad in Akermoud and concludes in Sidi Messaoud Boutritiche  in the town of Had Dra .

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