Published On: Sun, Apr 7th, 2013

Sidi Bennour holds Its First Regional Festival of Fantazia

( picture provided by khalid Bel hamdounia)


By Mourad Anouar

Morocco News Tribune

Oklahoma, U.S.A | The Moroccan city of Sidi Bennour is set to hold its first Regional Fantazia Festival from 9 through 14 April with the participation of around 300 horses from all across the province, local news website reported Saturday.

Under the slogan “Tbourida (Fantazia):Art and Heritage, the event will be hosted by the Regional Committee for the Owners of Doukala Fantazia Horses.

According to the event organizers, this year’s festival will not allow any Serba (horses team) to participate unless the number of participants is over 15.

The festival aims, according to one of its organizers, at preserving and reviving the tradition of Tbourida in Doukkala region and passing it on to the next generation.

Fantazia, or the equestrian and horsemanship in Morocco’s traditional folklore, is conducted by having a number of several Serbas ( horses and their riders or knights) who perform a re-enactment of a battle attack charge while all dressed in Moroccan traditional outfits and with their horses beautifully saddled and ornamented.

The fun part of this cultural art and form of martial art is that the horses’ riders are expected to gallop side by side along a straight stretch of a few hundred meters where at the finish line, all riders should fire shots into the air using old gunpowder guns.

Different parts of Morocco hold Fantazia events with each region represented by its Serba. These horse performances are usually held during local seasonal, cultural or religious festivals, also called Moussem (‘season’ in Arabic).

The Fantasia tradition is believed to be inspired from historical wartime attacks of Berber and desert knights.

Fantasia horses, well bred and groomed, are stallions who are not used for any type of work.

And according to some Berber tradition, “only men and virgin women are allowed to ride these magnificent animals,” because the native people of Morocco believe non-virgins may cause the horses to lose their power and speed.