• AP PHOTOS: Wild costumes, drums mark Algerian New Year fest

    By: ANIS BELGHOUL, Associated Press

    BENI SNOUS, Algeria (AP) - New Year's celebrations come in all shapes and sizes.

    With animal hide costumes and banging drums, the western Algerian town of Beni Snous has noisily celebrated the new year - and an ancient military victory over the pharaoh - with a traditional Berber Ayred festival.

    Young men wear lion masks, drape themselves in hides and parade from door to door to the beat of drums during the Ayred, which means "lion" in the Berber language. They gather food and other items to distribute later to the poor, and residents sing along their journey.

    The three-day festival that started Thursday also commemorates the victory of a Berber king over the Egyptian pharaoh in 950 BC.

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