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Fantasia in Marrakech is a spectacular way to see Marrakech by night. This Equestrian dinner and Moroccan music show is held at Chez Ali in the Palmerie of Marrakech. It pays homage to the traditional Meknes Fantasia in the old medieval capital of northern Morocco. A Moroccan dinner is served with a traditional starter of Harira (chickpea soup), a main course of Mechoui (lamb spit) and couscous, all under caidal “tents”. The dinner is complimented by Berber folklore – the indigenous people of North Africa, west of the Nile Valley. There is a wide range of musical styles from Berber groups, Chabbi musicians, Moroccan Rap and Gnaoua. You will also see jugglers, a flying carpet, belly dancing and finally the Fantasia show.

 

Photo©www.chezali-marrakech.com

 

Originating from the region of Meknes in Morocco, Fantasia is a war ceremony that consists of opposing groups of horsemen, each representing the best rides of its tribe. The performance is inspired from historical wartime attacks of Berber and desert knights. Today, Fantasia is considered as a cultural art and a form of martial art; it also symbolizes a strong relationship between the man and the horse, as well as an attachment to tradition.

Each region in Morocco has one or several fantasia groups, called serba, totaling thousands of horse riders nationwide. Performances are usually during local seasonal, cultural or religious festivals, also called mousseum, which translates to “season” in Arabic. This traditional equestrian performance is practiced during cultural festivals in Morocco. Fantasia is not the original name as the actual traditional term used is “Game of gunpowder”.

 

photo©www.chezali-marrakech.com

 

Fantasia in its pure form consists of a group of horse riders, wearing traditional clothes and charging along a straight path at the same speed so as to form a line, at the end of the ride (about two hundred meters) all riders fire into the sky using old gunpowder guns. The difficulty of the performance is synchronization during the acceleration and especially during firing so that one single shot is heard. The horse is referred to as fantasia horse.

If you’re interested in experiencing Fantasia for yourself, contact me, Alecia Cohen, email alecia@travel-exploration.com or visit www.travel-exploration.com

Africa Geographic Travel
Alecia Cohen

Alecia Cohen is an American living in Marrakech, she is also the winner of the 2011 Morocco Travel Blog Awards. 18 years of music magazine publishing and 30 countries later Cohen started a Moroccan travel company with her berber husband Hossaine Amiri. Travel Exploration Morocco offers tailor-made tours to all the best places in Morocco, and Alecia makes sure to blog about it on the way. Cohen is an expert on Moroccan culture and the subject of “world music”. She has lectured World Bank on culture & sustainable development in Africa and hosted New York Times best selling author, Caroline Myss, on a trip to the sacred spaces of Morocco.