Baba Aishur, a Folklore in Perdition

No items found.

shura is a festival celebrated on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram. It's celebrated in various ways throughout the Muslim world, respective of the local cultures. For Shias, Ashura is a commemoration of the massacre of Imam Hussain, while Sunnis on the other hand tend to fast during the event, corresponding with the day God saved Moses from the Pharaoh by spliting the sea.

In Morocco, the celebration of this festival has maintained its spirituality while being complemented by other cultural practices where legends and stories intertwine. Today, it's nicknamed the Children's Day and is still celebrated all over the kingdom. On the day of Ashura, water balloons are thrown at passers-by and each group or partakers lights a big fire where various songs and dances are performed. This day's traditional dish is couscous with dried meat (Gueddid). However, at the turn of the 21st century, its most iconic mascot, Baba Aishur is slowly being lost to forgetfulness.

No items found.

Baba Aishur

Baba Aishur is one of the more popular mythical characters in Morocco, his name often coming up on the night of Ashura.

Although the stories differ about him, Baba Aishur is said to be a frightening and merciless demon. He's described as having ox hooves and is said to wear a large burnous made of wool and of course, that he eats human flesh. Baba Aishur was also described as being quite the womanizer, which is why on the night of Ashura, girls put on their best outfits, style their hair and chant in unison "My Aishur, my Aishur, for you I let go of my hair, my Aishur, my Aishur…'

His life has conflicting counts on its conclusion, some saying he died during his prayer prostration while others believe he died by drowning, washed away by a river.

No items found.


On the night of Ashura, young girls bury dried meat bones that were previously eaten at dinner. These bones will be unearthed in the early morning for each family to make a representation of Baba Aïchour, whose body will be made of bones and whose clothes will be woven wool. Afterwards, the young children take a walk with the doll on a platter, where they raise money by asking for the blessing of Baba Aishur.

The day ends around a huge bonfire around which young and old gather. There's not much sleep to be had on the night of Ashura as the festivities go on until morning. At dawn, the death of Baba Aishur is announced symbolically. The families thus gather all the dolls representing him and surround them with a large white sheet, to which is added a lock of hair, incidentally, to conclude the celebration of this legend. To conclude, the whole thing is buried and the songs thus resume, this time about his death.

No items found.

Baba Aishur disappears

Nowadays, this tradition is no longer celebrated in the Moroccan kingdom as a whole. Indeed, only a few very conservative villages honor it by celebrating it every year. The elders of big cities are increasingly the only ones to keep the memory of Baba Aishur, who is nevertheless an important character in our mythological heritage, thus deserving his place in our memories.

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
Références :