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The Euro-Arab Foundation celebrates Yennayer 2974, the Amazigh New Year

El Rif de principios del XX visto por Emilio Blanco Izaga

The Euro-Arab Foundation, through its International Chair of Amazigh Culture, is organising a programme of activities this coming Thursday, January 18, to commemorate Yennayer, the Amazigh New Year, which will include a workshop on Amazigh pottery decoration, a photographic exhibition by the Africanist Emilio Blanco Izaga and a gastronomic tasting.


The Yennayer is an ancestral and traditional Amazigh festival celebrated in a spirit of joy and conviviality in regions of North Africa, in the Canary Islands and in sub-Saharan countries that remain attached to this centuries-old tradition of the Amazigh people.

Yennayer is the celebration of the Amazigh New Year, the first day of the year in the agrarian calendar used since ancient times by the Amazigh people, and corresponds to the victory of Sheshonq I over Pharaoh Ramses III and his enthronement as Pharaoh of Egypt. He is the founder of the XXII dynasty, which reigned in Egypt until 715 BC.

The word Yennayer is composed of ‘yen’, meaning ‘first’, and ‘yesterday’ (or ayyur), meaning ‘month’. It corresponds to the first day of the agrarian calendar used by the Amazigh for centuries, which in turn corresponds to the Julian calendar adopted in North Africa in ancient Rome and thirteen days out of step with the Gregorian calendar. This holiday is celebrated on 12 January each year and corresponds to the first day of January in the Julian calendar. According to the Amazigh calendar, this year 2024 corresponds to the Amazigh year 2974.

In addition to its traditional and popular character, this festival also has a vindictive component on the part of the Amazigh people, who are calling for the recovery of the traditional festivities of their culture so that they are not lost. In this sense, Yennayer has been established as a public holiday in Algeria and Morocco, from 2018 and 2024 respectively.


17:30h. Workshop on ‘Amazigh Rifeña Ceramic Decoration’.

Introductory workshop on decoration with some reddish and white earthenware pottery pieces with traditional Amazigh symbols and natural dyes. Pottery is an essential element in the daily life of the Amazigh people.
19:00 h. Inauguration of the exhibition: ‘The Rif at the beginning of the 20th century as seen by Emilio Blanco Izaga’.

Exhibition of photographs by Emilio Blanco Izaga taken during his stay in the Rif between 1927 and 1945, during his time as auditor of the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco.

19:30 h. Gastronomic tasting of Amazigh cuisine

The Yennayer meal is a central component of the celebration. Those attending this celebration, organised by Euro-Arab, will be able to taste typical Amazigh products such as: tea, laban, amlou, seasonal dried fruits, thighwawin and typical sweets. There is a great symbolic charge in the preparation of the Yennayer menu, the way it is presented and even the way it is consumed, all of which is consigned to end hunger, augur a good year, have good harvests, bless change and fervently welcome the invisible forces in which the Amazigh culture believed.


The Rif at the beginning of the 20th century as seen by Emilio Blanco Izaga
From 18 January to 23 February, 2024.

Visiting hours. Monday to Thursday from 9h. to 14h. and from 17h. to 20h. Friday mornings only. Weekends and public holidays, closed

The exhibition presented by the Euro-Arab Foundation consists of photographs from the beginning of the 20th century by Emilio Blanco Izaga, which he took during his stay in the Rif between 1927 and 1945, while working as an auditor for the Protectorate. The images, taken in black and white and at the standard size of the period, have been edited with the intention of recovering the original colour of their details and expressly enlarged for better viewing.