Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Festival of Fantasia

The Festival of Fantasia

It is one of the better known festivals and is also known as the Game of Gunpowder. When battles were still fought on horseback, Berbers were skilled horseman and their skill was a strong asset in battle. Today this same horsemanship is showcased as a performance during or at the closing of a Berber wedding celebration. They will also perform at religious or cultural celebrations. There are many Fantasia groups in Morocco, also known as Serba groups.

The performance is an exhilarating colorful display of expert riding. A group of riders adorned in traditional dress, line up on their horses. They rush forward at great speed for about 200 meters before firing their old gunpowder loaded weapons, into the air, in unison, effectively creating one synchronized sound. This is where the skill lies. The riders have to not only keep their horses in a straight line while charging forward but have to also fire a single shot at the very same moment as their fellow riders. 
Fantasia Festivel - Oujda, Morocco
Above: Festival of Fantasia (Oujda, Morocco)
[Attribution: Wikimedia Commons - Moonik]
Fantasia Festivel - Benidrar, Morocco
Above: Festival of Fantasia (Beni Drar near Oujda, Morocco)
[Attribution: Wikimedia Commons - Amjahed]
The horses are known as Fantasia horses and the performance is a testament to the bond between man and his horse. The Game of Gunpowder is inspired by the wartime strategy used by the Berber warriors as they charged their enemies in the desert. Today it is considered a form of martial and cultural art. There are some restaurants in Morocco that offer Fantasia riders as part of the dinner entertainment.

Travel Guide | The Berbers