Monday, 10 December 2012

Lakes of tears

There are few places in Morocco exempt for holding their own mystical local legends. Centuries old stories that blur the line of reality and fiction, intertwined with history, myth and folktales to create a narration of Moroccan national identity.

High in the Atlas mountains, as the soft delicate evening light washed over the harsh and rugged landscape surrounding a town called Imilchil, a local shepherd named Hassan was making his way down the mountain with a herd of goats and paused to tell us the story of how the lake, who's shore we stood on, was formed.

As the story goes.....there once were two young people who fell deeply in love but unfortunately they were from enemy tribes and their families wouldn't allow them to marry. Out of grief, they wept bitterly. They continued their crying day and night until they created two lakes made of their tears, lake Isli (his) and Tislit (hers). Their despair was so great, they committed suicide by drowning in those two lakes.

The families decided to establish a day on the anniversary of the lovers' death when members of local tribes could marry each other. Thus the Imilchil Marriage Festival was born. It is a time for some 30,000 people from the mountains to assemble under tents for three days with their flocks, their horses and camels. It is an occasion for the young girls to wear their finery, their sumptuous silver jewelry, and to dance for hours under the sun and under the stars. 

P.S. Hassan would like an Australian wife...

There must have been a lot of Tears. Lake Isli.

The dramatic backdrop of the Atlas Mountains.

A Moroccan and an Australian.

That's my wife not yours Hassan!

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