Moroccan Culture

Morocco is a beautiful country with very rich culture. Travelers to Morocco should be prepared for a country that is very different from the West, and ought to learn a bit about the culture before their trip.

Morocco’s language is Arabic and 99% of the population is Muslim, though it is very tolerant towards religious minorities.

The attire in Morocco is very modest, and in smaller, more religious cities, women are expected to cover their knees and shoulders, and men are expected to cover their shoulders. It is a good idea to follow this code, as Moroccan people may be offended otherwise. The larger cities, however, are less strict on this front, with women often wearing short sleeves. In general as a tourist, you should observe the locals’ attire and try to dress similarly in order to avoid any offense. Traditional Moroccan dress is the djellaba- a loose, hooded, full sleeved garment.

General interactions in Morocco are often more formal than one might expect. Greetings include kisses on the cheek between people of the same sex. The left hand is thought to be impure, so interactions, gestures, and dining should all be performed with one’s right hand. Pointing with one’s index finger is also considered impolite.

Sadly, only Muslims are allowed to enter Moroccan mosques (with the exception of the Tin Mal Mosque). But tourists are certainly permitted to admire and photograph the mosques gorgeous exteriors, as long as they are respectful. You may catch an occasional glimpse of the inside through a door, but you should be careful that you aren’t being nosy or disrespectful.

If you visit someone’s house in Morocco, you should usually take off your shoes by the door, and you should arrive with a gift like food or flowers. You will probably eat on a mat or couch on the floor and share communal dishes in the center of the table. If you visit a hotel or restaurant, you should always leave a ten to fifteen percent tip.

Women traveling to Morocco should expect to have a very different experience than they would when traveling in the West. Gender roles are much more defined and patriarchal there, and many women still wear veils in the country. Rarely do women smoke or drink in Morocco.

For one month each year, Ramadan is celebrated in the Islamic world. Throughout this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset in order to focus on their spiritual lives. Naturally, Ramadan has a huge impact on the country of Morocco. If you choose to visit Morocco during Ramadan, you will be even more aware of its culture and its customs; it is certainly an enlightening and interesting opportunity. That said, you should be extra aware of showing respect toward the culture, and should probably avoid publicly eating and drinking, even though you are not required to fast.

Any tourist traveling to Morocco should be ready for an amazing cultural experience- from its food to its clothing to its religion, Morocco is rich in tradition and is very different from what most Westerners are accustomed to. Traveling is often a humbling and eye-opening experience, and Morocco definitely provides just that.

 

Post Author: Kenzi Murray