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82207_07 High Atlas, Morocco, 1982 | by Wolfgang_Kraus
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82207_07 High Atlas, Morocco, 1982

Assif n-Wirghan, Assif Melloul region, central High Atlas mountains

 

This image incidentally documented a ritual that I was not yet aware of while taking the photo. June 24th of the Julian calendar (that is still in use among the Imazighen/Berbers of the Atlas mountains), corresponding to July 7th of the Gregorian calendar, is the day of ânsra (lԑnṣrt in Tamazight), the celebration of summer solstice. On this day the shepherds light fires on the mountain pastures and let the flocks pass through the smoke. This is said to help the animals to get rid of parasites and to provide them with divine blessing (baraka). The smoke trails that can be seen on the distant mountainside bear witness to this custom. The ânsra ritual provides a striking parallel to the European tradition of bonfires to celebrate the night before St. John’s day, also on June 24th.

 

Pentax MX, smc Pentax-M 1:2.8 100mm, Ilford HP5 film/ID-11 1+3 developer

Negative copied using Pentax K-1 with Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon-Zirconia 2.8/89-0001

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Taken on July 7, 1982