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UNESCO Includes ‘Tbourida’ as Intangible Moroccan Cultural Heritage

UNESCO finally accepted Morocco’s Tbourida as a cultural heritage after the country submitted a nomination in 2019.

16 Dec 2021

Rabat – UNESCO inscribed Morocco’s “Tbourida,” also known as “fantasia” into its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on December 15. The North African country had officially submitted its “Tbourida” application in 2019.

Unlike historical sites or artifacts, UNESCO’s Intangible Culture Heritage refers to practices, beliefs, customs, and other nonphysical cultural attributes. Tbourida performance is deeply rooted in Moroccan culture and is often associated with traditional and regional festivities.

The equestrian performance dates back to the sixteenth century and simulates a succession of military parades, reconstructed according to ancestral Arab-Amazigh conventions and rituals, UNESCO noted in a statement.

The “tbourida” highlights multiple dimensions of intangible cultural heritage, including rituals, skills, and traditional knowledge relating to dress, craftsmanship, and the richness of the country’s culture.

Tbourida, which is known internationally as “fantasia,” is a type of horseback riding in which equestrians fire guns and ride in synchrony. Each Tbourida performance is carried out by a troupe made up of an odd number of riders and horses, usually between 15 and 25.

The leader of the troupe rides in the middle and gives directions to fellow horse riders to perform a parade composed of two parts.

The first part of the show, named the hadda (Arabic for salute), the riders enter the course to perform an acrobatic arms drill before repositioning themselves at the starting point again to begin the second part of the performance.

The talqa performance comes second in which the troupes fire a round of blanks from their rifles, simulating a collective departure for war.

Although each region has its own particular traditions and ways of celebrating, the practices remain the same as it all holds to a single historical story of pride, identity, and a history to cherish the uniqueness of Morocco’s cultural heritage.

The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity currently has 492 elements inscribed, aiming to ensure greater visibility for cultural practices and know-how carried by communities all over the world.

UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee is set to examine around 55 applications between December 13 to 18, which are seeking inclusion on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

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