Modernization and Culture Loss: The case of Birth Rituals among Ayt Merghad

Since its independence, Morocco has witnessed a number of mutations which have resulted in radical changes in the Moroccan culture in general and the Amazigh one in particular. Although Morocco was colonized for a relatively short period of time, 1912-1956, the effect of these decades on the Moroccan society and culture is immense. The present study tries to provide an account of the impact of urbanization and modernization on the Amazigh cultural heritage in the Ayt Merghad community. More specifically, this study is concerned with the investigation of the gradual loss of the Amazigh culture in the Ayt Merghad area, with a special focus on the rituals of birth. The study also tries to determine the factors behind the disappearance of most of the practices related to these rituals. To meet the objectives of the study, an ethnographic approach was adopted. Two techniques of data collection were used, namely participant observation and in-depth interviews. To make sense of the data collected, ethnographic data analysis took place throughout the paper. The main themes of the study were identified, discussed and interpreted. The study shows that birth rituals have witnessed major changes. The data analysis has also revealed a number of factors that have led to the disappearance of most of the traditional birth rituals in the Ayt Merghad community.