Mata International Festival 2024: The 12th edition will take place from May 17 to 19.


Under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the 12th edition of the Mata International Equestrian Festival will take place from May 17 to 19 in Znaid, Arbaa Ayacha, (Moulay Abdessalam Ben Mchich district) in the province of Larache, under the patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.

“This year’s edition of the Mata International Equestrian Festival is distinguished by the inclusion of the intangible heritage of Mata within the World Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) on behalf of the Kingdom of Morocco,” indicates a press release from the Scientific Society of Social and Cultural Action of Araouche, organizer of the festival. “The inscription of the intangible heritage of Mata on the ISESCO list is a great historic event, made possible thanks to the high patronage and partners who support the festival in all its cultural, developmental, economic and social manifestations,” said the president of the festival, Nabil Baraka.

“It is a well-deserved coronation for the cavalry of Mata, the wife of this cultural forum, and a celebration of the mountainous regions which are home to a rich and diverse spiritual and cultural heritage,” he added. He recalled the honor recently bestowed on Seville (Spain) at the Mata International Equestrian Festival, which received the Emilio Castellar Prize in recognition of its efforts to promote cultural rapprochement between civilizations and nations.

He also highlighted the spiritual aspect that the festival represents for honorable scientists and members of the Mashayshiya Shadhiliya, calling for this occasion, in which many men of thought, religion, culture, art and politics participate , to work towards the dissemination of the spiritual values ​​of the Mashayshiya order. Last year, the artist Bachir El Attar, the artist Faisal Saghir, the artist Ikram El Abdia, the artist Messari, Iman El Hajeb, the actors Hassan and Mohsen, as well as the pioneer of the art of mountain, Hajji Serifi, and other cultural figures participated in the event.

“Mata” is an equestrian game during which farmers from all over Jebel El Alam welcome the spring season by playing a unique game that requires courage, precision, flexibility and intelligence as well as great fluidity and dexterity on the part of its practitioners, in which horse and rider unite, in perfect harmony, to celebrate an ancient culture of a magnificent region. After the sieving of the wheat fields, first in the village of Aznid then in other regions, the girls and women of the tribe accompany this process with their songs and their famous ghazals, which mingle with the sound of the guitar and drums for which the region is famous. These are the same women who, using reeds and fabrics, make the doll that will be competed for by the most courageous runners in the Jabala region, a region where the art of riding, raising and training horses is a strong cultural characteristic. According to oral tradition, the winner of the Mata game is the one who, thanks to his skill and courage, snatches the dummy from the other riders and wins. He then receives a wonderful reward: he becomes the husband of the most beautiful girl in the tribe. It is possible that Mata was inspired by Buzkashi, a similar but more violent game, which, according to legend, was inspired by Moulay Abdessalam Ben Mchich during his visit to Ibn Bukhari. Buzkashi, practiced in Afghanistan, involves the carcass of a goat over which the riders fight fiercely, leaving many injured…

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