Morocco Celebrates Festibaz Donkey Festival

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In the Moroccan village of Beni Ammar Zerhoun, hardworking donkeys were honored and celebrated during the annual Festibaz festival.

This year marked the 13th edition of Festibaz, featuring a variety of festivities including a donkey beauty pageant and a thrilling race.

Seven donkeys participated in the beauty pageant, where owners proudly showcased their animals before a judging panel. The crowned winner, named “Shah Rukh Khan,” captivated the audience with adorned floral accessories adorning its head.

The beauty pageant not only evaluated aesthetics but also assessed the donkey’s demeanor toward its owners and others.

Amine Yaala, whose donkey claimed victory in the beauty pageant, expressed his dedication to caring for his beloved animal, emphasizing its vital role in his daily life.

Donkeys are integral to the village’s livelihood, serving as indispensable means of transportation in its rugged terrain and for the hauling of goods.

According to Mohammed Azzouzi, a resident, donkeys are irreplaceable assets, especially in mountainous regions where tractors are impractical.

Despite the common perception of donkeys as stubborn creatures, the villagers of Beni Ammar Zerhoun regard them as essential contributors to the local economy.

The Festibaz festival, initiated in 2001, has become a cherished tradition, although it has not been held every year. This year’s event marks its resumption following the hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the festivities, the Society for the Protection of Animals and Nature organized a campaign to provide healthcare to the donkeys, ensuring their well-being before participating in the race.

The thrilling race, spanning 1 kilometer, featured 12 donkeys and riders aged between 17 and 20. The victor, 19-year-old Said Hayani, expressed pride in his achievement, symbolizing the enduring bond between the villagers and their cherished donkeys.


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