National Geographic : 1980 Jan
wool, meat, grain, and vegetables to sell or barter. Tradesmen group their white tents by product: pottery, pots, rugs, locks, tools, and books; butchers keep a distance. Larger dark tents house officials. Devotional and social activities center on the beehive tomb, or marabout, of holy man Sidi Mohammed el Merheni, center. The Ait Hadiddou do not recall precisely when this remarkable man guided human affairs; they know only that the marriages he blessed were happy ones, and believe his spirit lives on in the shrine-dispensing grace. I watched a groom enter the holy enclosure to pray; later a bride tucked a handful of tomb dust-a portable blessing-into her robes.