- This term, from the word ilmawn, meaning "skins," refers to masquerades and carnivals connected with various feasts in North Africa in which a man is dressed up in the skins of the sacrificed animals. In the company of his wife Ti'azza and several Jews and blacks, he beats people with a stick or with the foot of a sacrificed goat or sheep. Bu-ilmawn, also called bujlud or bu-lbtayn in Moroccan Arabic, is covered with skins of sacrificed animals and has the horns of the sacrificed animals on his head. Accompanied by musicians, they dance their way from house to house, beating and teasing people in a profane manner and receiving an assortment of gifts from each household. Bu-ilmawn is believed to represent the holiness of the feast and transfers this baraka (divine grace) to those with whom he comes in contact. At the same time, he is also teased, pushed about, and often slapped with slippers. In short, he embodies a scapegoat as well as a positive cleanser of evil. The characters and meanings of masquerades differ from region to region. For an interpretation of masquerades in the High Atlas Mountains, see Abdellah Hammoudi's ethnography, The Victim and Its Masks (1993).
Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . Hsain Ilahiane. 2014.