Mawlid Ennabawi celebrations in Algeria: Sneak peek into traditions, rituals, festivities, dishes…..Photos

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ALGIERS- After having celebrated Aid El fitre and Aid Al Adha, the Algerians like all the Muslims of the world welcome the festival of the mouloud. This joyful and auspicious occasion is the celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that corresponds to the 12th day of the lunar month “Rabie El awal” .

In Algeria, families gather for a large meal after Meghreb prayer, while the young people go out to have fun with fireworks and firecrackers. This festival is experienced in Algeria with great enthusiasm.

Throughout its history, the ceremony of religious holidays in Algeria, certifies its attachment to its spiritual values ​​and also its concern to preserve its identity. Especially during the colonial period, as historians highligh. It was a way and a defense of the national identity, values ​​and religion of the Algerian people.

According the different sources, the Mawlid was first celebrated in Egypt in 972, at the time of the Ayyoubiine who consider it legitimate. Others say it was first celebrated by the Fathimites. The celebration reaches the Maghreb then Tlemcen at the beginning of the 15th century to finally land in the South, more particularly in Béni-Abbès (wilaya of Béchar) and Adrar in the 16th century.

During that period, Mawlid was, as it is nowadays, an annual event of pride and joy, where Algerians from all ethnic communities commemorated, on an enormous scale, this auspicious occasion and reflected on the life and teachings of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) to refresh their understanding and practice of faith, peace and harmony. Eid was an occasion to recall the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and share them with children and younger ones. So, in future, they can also transfer all these stories and hadiths to the future generations. It, also, afforded, as always, the opportunity to refresh the soul with faith.

The religious festivities used to take place in two stages:

The first, being dedicated to the nativity of the Prophet (PBUH), was celebrated in the ksour of Zaouit-Kounta, Titaf, Timi and the city of Adrar.

The second, held a week later in the daïra of Timimoun and the neighboring ksours, such as; Fatis, Oujlane, Tinerkouk, Massine, was devoted to the celebration of the baptism “the Sboue”. In the Touat, region of Adrar, Algerians used, as always, to gather in mosques and religious congregations to listen to the orators recounting the virtues of the Holy Prophet of Islam and recite the Holy Quran.

Mawlid was an opportunity to light candles, offer gifts to children, perform their circumcision, an honor those who succeeded in memorising the 60 Quranic verses. Nowadays, a special atmosphere reigns, as this occasion has become an event well anchored and well established in the country. To commemorate this day, each region of Algeria has its own traditions.

Mawlid Ennabawi celebrations in Algeria: Traditions, rituals, festivities, dishes…..

It is very pleasing that the Islamic Ummah celebrates the anniversary of the birth of its prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Algerians celebrate by decorating their houses with colorful lights and green flags to show their immeasurable love with the Last Prophet. They feast, for many days, with friends and relatives and give charitable gifts to the poor.

On the night of the birthday of the Prophet (PBUH), Algerians dive into the festive fervour with enthusiasm. They congratulate each other by meeting face-to-face or sending beautiful gifs, text messages, images, voice notes, and sharing videos on their devices.

Families gather around a traditional Algerian meal. They light candles and display them throughout the house and on the windows.

After dinner, the streets come alive as the sun goes down. children take into the streets and play with firecrackers and fireworks. The cities are totally changed in this magical night. The housewives lit candles in the house, some families gather around a tea table, girls prefer to go on the terrace of the house to chat and sing songs for this event.
Some families proceed that evening to circumcise their children, dressed in traditional costumes with the ritual of the henna ceremony with scents and candles.

On the day of Mouloud, for breakfast, we traditionally prepare “tamina”, a pasty-textured dessert made from roasted semolina mixed with honey. It is usually prepared after childbirth as food for the mother and distributed to relatives to share the news.

Although there are common practices in the celebration of Mouloud in Algeria, some differ from region to region. This involves, among other things, the dishes prepared in these regions.

Each region has its own dish…….

In Algiers, it is the “rechta” that is served on Mouloud day, a dish of fine noodles drizzled with a white sauce and usually accompanied by chicken.

In eastern Algeria, “chakhchouka” is served. It is a dish made from crumbled semolina paste that is sprinkled with a red sauce and served with meat. There is also “la trida” made from thin, square pasta drizzled with white sauce and served with meat or chicken.

In western Algeria, “berkoukes” are served, a pasta dish shaped like large grains of couscous in a red sauce with meat.

The celebration of Mawlid Ennabaoui Echarif takes on a special character in Tlemcen because of traditions firmly rooted in the family unit. Mosques and zaouias drained a large number of faithful during this religious event. Young Quran learners recite the hadiths of the Prophet in a solemn atmosphere before the imams recall in their sermons the meaning and scope of the Mawlid for the entire Muslim community. In Béni Snous for example, this village 45 km from Tlemcen, perched at an altitude of 1000 m, the population commemorates this feast in pure tradition and in a spirit of piety and spiritual communion. The vigils in the mosques last until dawn, marked by the chants of the Koran.

From a culinary point of view, this is an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the hot “trid” served with couscous, “tammina” and dried figs. On the night of the Prophet’s birth, children dressed in traditional costumes crisscross the arteries of Béni Snous with religious songs, punctuated by ululations of women leaning behind half-open doors.

And finally in southern Algeria, Sahrawi people prefer couscous and camel meat.

However, two provinces in southern Algeria stand out in their way of celebrating Mouloud.

The particularity of the Mouloud festival in southern Algeria:

Mouloud is celebrated in a unique way in southern Algeria and more particularly in two provinces, namely; Adrar and Béchar.

In Touat – Gourara – Tidikelt, three regions of the wilaya of Adrar, we celebrate the “Sboû of Mawlid Ennabaoui” (which means the 7th day), a festival classified as an intangible world heritage of humanity by UNESCO.

In 2011, Folklore troupes give an exceptional character to these festivities through songs and dances typical of the region. It is a real spectacle for tourists. The inhabitants of the region, known for their hospitality, open the doors of their homes to visitors, tourists and all passers-by, offering them meals and accommodation.

In the region of Béni-Abèss, wilaya of Béchar, the “Fezaâ” is celebrated. It also receives a large number of tourists, mainly nationals. The inhabitants turn their houses into lodges for accommodation. Entertainment is provided by groups called “Shab el baroud” (baroud: which means gunpowder).

In addition to specifically religious ceremonies, such as; daily sessions (lasting 7 days) of recitation of the Holy Quran and Dikr (Evocation), in mosques and Koranic schools. Competitions are organized, and the three best reciters of the holy Quran are rewarded.

In Béchar, Mouloud Ennabawi is also a moment of spirituality. The faithful join the mosques or the zaouïas (Muslim religious building made up of prayer rooms, for the recitation of the Koran, belonging to the Sufi brotherhoods. Its members are also called the Marabouts) to recite verses from the Holy Coran, perform prayers, and chant panegyric songs honoring the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH).

In a related context, several travel agencies organize stays or dinners on the occasion of the Mouloud celebration.

In Algiers, dinners are organized in houses at the Casbah, animated by Andalusian or chaabi music groups. We are immediately bathed in a pure traditional atmosphere.

Modern restaurants in Algiers have also joined in by offering menus of traditional dishes on the evening of Mouloud.

As for the trips, they are mainly organized in southern Algeria to attend the festivities mainly held in Adrar and Béchar provinces.

Some parts translated from: fr.blastingnews/ Le petit journal/

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