Imilchil….the legend of the lovers got into 2 lakes.

Her name was "Tislet", and his was "Isli";

Their families were enemy Berber tribes from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Although they were lovers, in true Shakespearean tradition, their irate parents refused to allow them to marry. Their hearts were broken. To live apart was impossible. They sadly exchanged vows, then drowned themselves in two nearby lakes which now bear their names. Destiny wills that even in death, they are unable to unite. The imposing mountain seated between the two bodies of water acts as a guardian even as their spirits reach out for one another.

this act of desperation so devastated the hostile clans of the Berber "Ait Haddidou" that parents of this tribe thenceforth granted their children the right to choose their own marriage partners.

So unfold the story woven around the annual Berber Brides' Festival of Imilchil, held high in the lake plateau of the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco. Each year in September after the harvest, from every corner of the Ait Haddidou domain, come young men and women in search of a mate.

The moussem, or festival, occurs near Imilchil, at the site of the burial place of Sidi Mohamed El Maghani, the patron saint of the Ait Haddidou. Legend has it that the marriage which were blessed by this holy man were happy and long-lasting thus the reason for the arduous trek to this isolated area.

At one time, this was an exclusive "family affair", with members of some fifty tribes from the region converging on the otherwise barren plateau for a Berber version of the family reunion and wedding celebration combined.

Now, those outsiders hardy enough to make the grueling trip are also welcome to participate in the festivities, the affairs become now an international attraction for tourists from all over the world….welcome to Imilchil festival 2009. 🙂

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