Tag Archive for Festivals from around the world

Morocco’s Timitar Festival, a favourite of Charity Challenge Team Leader Trevor Gibbs

For more than 4,000 years, the Berbers ruled across the vast landscapes of North Africa. Long before the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century, their culture held sway across great swathes of the continent, stretching from the Atlantic coast to the banks of the Niger River. For centuries these ‘Lords of the Atlas’ spread their culture and customs across lands that extended from beyond the deserts of Western Egypt, to the shores of the Mediterranean. Between the 11th and 13th centuries, the great Berber dynasties of the Almoravids and the Almohads even extended their power and control into large parts of Spain as well.

With the waning of Berber power and prestige however, these tribal customs fell into decline and Berber culture took a backwards step. Amongst the Arab elite this once proud race came to be considered inferior and their traditions, language and customs retreated into the safety of the imposing peaks of the High Atlas. In recent years though, this rich mix of cultural heritage has enjoyed an astonishing and colourful resurgence, due in no small part to the annual Timitar Festival.

Held in June or July each year, the festival has grown to become one of Africa’s premier music festivals, attracting performers and audiences from across the world to the bustling coastal resort of Agadir. Staged in three open-air venues, the festival is a dazzling fusion of traditional Berber music, modern jazz, hip hop and world renowned performers. Featuring over 40 different artists and attracting close to half a million spectators, the four day festival has become a showcase for Amazigh (Berber) culture in the heart of their traditional homeland.

Considered one of the largest music festivals in the country, this year is the festival’s ninth incarnation and it is expected to provide its audiences with more than 40 free concerts, performed by upwards of 400 artists from as far afield as Iraq, Colombia, Korea and the United States. What defines Timitar from other similar festivals though is its focus on Amazigh culture. Since its inception, it has strived to provide a stage for an event that has its roots firmly entrenched in Souss Massa Drâa tradition, whilst its outlook is most definitely looking towards the future. Add to that an opportunity to escape the oppressive summer heat of the Moroccan interior and a chance to enjoy some of the finest seafood on the Atlantic seaboard, and you have an event that provides a feast for body and soul.

This year’s Timitar Festival takes place from the 27th-30th June.

charity Challenge currently run 3 challenges based in Morcocco, The Sahara Desert Trek, Atlas Mountain Bike challenge and the High Atlas Summit Trek. If you want to learn more about our these challenges and much more, you can visit our website at www.charitychallenge.com. To keep up to date on all Charity Challenge news, please enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

And for more of Trevor’s view on the world, check out his blog at:http://alizardwandering.wordpress.com/

Inti Raymi; The Festival of the Sun, blog written by Charity Challenge Team Leader Trevor Gibbs

Guardians of the largest empire ever to sweep across the Americas, the origins of the Inca are shrouded in myth and magic. Believed to have been created by the Sun God, the Inca race rose from the waters of Lake Titicaca to create an empire that, at its peak, stretched from the banks of the Rio Maule in central Chile to encompass most of present-day Ecuador, Peru, western Bolivia, northern Chile and north-west Argentina; a dominion of some 980,000 square kilometres.

The sun therefore, as you might imagine, played a huge part in Incan culture. It was the giver of life and the sun god, Inti, ranked second only to the great spirit, Viracocha, the God of Civilisation himself. No surprise then that, in ancient times, Inti Raymi was one of the most important festivals in the Incan calendar. It was held at the winter solstice, when the sun was at its farthest point from the earth and the thought of famine and the swift return of the sun’s life-giving rays were uppermost in the minds of the people. It was a time of sacrifice, feasting and pagan ritual.

With the Spanish conquest though the ritual was banned by the Catholic Church and the last royal Inti Raymi was held in 1535. For the next 400 years the celebrations went underground, until they were revived again in 1944, since when, it has been held every year since. Celebrated on the 24 June, today the festival has grown to become the second largest in South America, taking on the role of a pageant with hundreds of actors playing the main characters and the streets of Cusco filled with street fairs, dancing and music.

Beginning in Qoricancha, on the site of the former sun temple, the pageant winds its way along flower strewn avenues, passing into the Plaza de Armas and up towards the ancient fortress of Sacsayhuamán, where the elaborately dressed nobles and high priests perform the ancient rituals and sacrifices in front of crowds of thousands of onlookers. The sacrificial lamas of old have been replaced with something a little less gruesome, as have the reading of the auguries from their bloody entrails, but the visual spectacular still evokes something of the majesty of the ceremony of old and, as the pageant retraces its steps back into the city, the new year begins with the Inca bestowing the sun’s blessing on the citizens of Cusco, after which, the celebrations can begin in earnest!

To keep up to date on all Charity Challenge news and recieve our latest blogs, please subscribe to our RSS feed via clicking the orange button in the top right, and enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list. And for more of Trevor’s view on the world, check out his action packed blog at:http://alizardwandering.wordpress.com/