The Kingdom of Morocco carries so much history. The land has been occupied by a few empires and many dynasties before its transformation into the Morocco of today, a fact of history spanning over 1,200 years old.
The North African country was once occupied by Christian Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, Arab dynasties and Carthaginians, who built their empires when they inhabited the land.
Decades after, Morocco, despite its religious inclination as an Islamic country, is blessed with a rich culture which is a blend of Arab, Berber, European and African influences.
The North African country has also placed a high premium on tourism as a strategic industry for the growth and sustainability of its economy. Several authoritative outlets have listed Morocco as the most preferred destination for tourists in North Africa.
It is advisable to do a little research before visiting a new place. It will make your visit a more relaxing experience. Some locals may take offense to certain things a tourist does, forgetting the tourist is a foreigner and is oblivious to the rules and regulations pertaining to the place.
However, no matter how much research is done before a trip, there are certain traditions that only people from that country will understand and appreciate.
Here are certain unique Moroccan traditions that only Moroccans can relate to.
Don’t forget to buy gifts
Having souvenirs from trips is many things people cherish during their vacations but when visiting Morocco, it is important to note that your hosts may require a little gift from you as a way of appreciating their hospitality.
Moroccans are very hospitable and always happy to help a missing tourist or welcome their guests into their homes. They do not fail to shower these guests with unriddled affection, so it is not advisable to travel to the North African country without taking your gift along as well.
Friday couscous ritual
Fridays in Morocco are observed differently than in other parts of the world. The day is usually solemn, unlike the usual Friday buzz that earmarks the end of a long week where people are looking to unwind in pubs during happy hour.
Moroccans have a usual Friday couscous ritual on the Islamic congregational prayer day unlike the rest of the world. Their way of making the dish takes hours and like Sunday dinners at ‘Big Mama’s house’, the people here gather around to enjoy their beloved mandatory seven vegetable couscous, i.e, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, tomato and a bit of cabbage.
Families sit around to enjoy their couscous and this almost always follows the Friday prayers where they eat their fill.
Darija is a variety of Arabic unique to Moroccans even though people from neighboring Tunisia and Algeria can pick a few words because of the slight use of Arabic phrases. Standard Arabic is the official language in Morocco but Darija is a lingua franca that borrows words from Arabic, Berber languages, sub-Saharan languages, Turkish, French, Spanish, and Italian.
This music style was birthed by southern Moroccan artisans and it involves the singing of poems. It is heavily influenced by Andalusian musical styles, going back to centuries ago when the Moors conquered Spain. Malhun lyrics touch on Moroccan social and cultural issues.
Moroccans have two inimitable wedding celebrations, the Berber and Arabic style which can be seen in other North African nations.
However, there is a ritual unique to Moroccan Arabic wedding ceremonies where the bride and groom are paraded around the room sitting majestically in an amariya, a large chair.
They are carried by four men and moved from one end of the room to the other where guests and other well-wishers are given the opportunity to bestow on them marital blessings for a happy and beautiful life together as a couple.