Let us first mention how some scholars explain the inception of the Amazigh calendar. According to them, the origin of Yennayer refers to the first mention of Amazigh people in historical records: the founding by Amazigh Pharaoh Sheshonq I of the 22nd pharaonic dynasty in 958 BC, followed by the 23rd and 24th Amazigh pharaonic dynasties, over 200 years (958 BC-712 BC) of Amazigh rule in ancient Egypt. According to ancient Egyptian historian Manetho (3rd century BC) and archeological records, Amazigh Pharaonic dynasties brought back stability to Egypt by reunifying it and defending it against foreign invasion from the East.
In summary, Yennayer 2966 that we will celebrate this year commemorates the first mention of the Amazigh people in history. Significantly, it refers to Imazighen as the contributors to the glorious Egyptian civilization. 13 January corresponds to the end of armed conflict between Imazighen and the Egyptian pharaohs.
Here are some few traditions related to the celebration of Yennayer (on January 13th) in some areas of the large land of Tamazghra as they had been described at the beginning of the twentieth century by some French ethnographers since our ancestors didn’t keep records of their practices and since these traditions are unfortunately in the process of disappearing if nobody act efficiently in order to save them.
The festivities are strictly a family affair involving specific dishes. Couscous with chicken is the predominant dish, which embodies the whole symbolism of the event. Nowadays, the celebration -when it takes place- is limited to a special meal like, usually prepared in a household with elderly members or to a party usually initiated by young active members of Amazigh movements in urban societies where most of Imazighen evolve today.
Yennayer should be an occasion to learn more about the cultural background of our ancestors, and to make every effort to transmit this heritage to the young generation that hardly speaks and cares about its significance.
Celebrating Yennayer could also be a step to affirm a fundamental cultural aspect of Imazighen and further more an attempt to revise or reappraise the official historiography.
The Agraw.com members accustomed to attend celebrations organized by some Amazigh association in Huceima and Nador and documenting the event.