Tag Archives: Morocco Holidays

Traditions of Morocco (what to know before you leave)

It’s a good idea to choose Morocco as a destination for the holiday. Its features can be different in different areas. For example the cities, especially in the most¬† touristy ones, are less rigid regarding some cultural inner rules compared to the Berber villages. Notwithstanding some customs and traditions are still the same from the North to the South. Although Morocco, compared to other Arab nations, shows an evolution and a constantly increasing modernisation, the country remains still tied to some valuable traditions.

Maroc_Marrakech_Jemaa-el-Fna_Luc_Viatour

Photo CC-BY-SA 3.0 Luc Viatour

Already arriving here, perhaps by ferry, we have to be aware of where we are landing. Indeed, it would be worthy thinking about it before leaving, to avoid here any trouble or difficulty.

In fact, while preparing the suitcase and clothes to wear, there are two good points to remind: the first concerns the climate of the region where we will get on holiday. Do not forget that in certain areas there is a strong temperature range between day and night, and therefore, although it is hard to think of having to wear jackets and sweaters in summer, however these can be very useful in some regions.

The second thing to consider is that necklines, skirts, shorts and bikinis are not stated in almost all Morocco, because they are not respectful of the culture of this country. As for men, although in cities is less categorical, however, it is not recommended to wear tank tops and shorts, especially if you go in the Berber villages of the hinterland. The best thing to do is to bring these kind of clothes in your suitcase and thus wear dresses or long skirts and trousers in linen or cotton so you let your skin breathe. If the holiday will take place all in the resorts, you may be less rigid, but always taking into account that there is local working staff, and that most likely you will also make excursions.

It is also recommended that a woman do not go out alone. Besides the comments she would receive would be enough to discourage her. If it is accompanied it would be good to avoid kissing or hugging in public, because even if you are married or engaged, it is not well received when you caress or kiss somebody in public places. The local couple generally do not hold hands or exchange any kind of attention. It is easier to meet two men holding hands, but in this case it is simply a friendship going on.

Moreover, in many cases and in many activities, men and women are in separate rooms. This can happen for meals and, above all, in the hammams where men and women can only enter at different times.

Anything that has to do with religion must be carefully assessed in order to avoid mistakes: the places of worship such as mosques can not be visited, with some exceptions in the most touristy cities. However in this case you should take all the infos before entering the building.

If you are in a Moroccan house or however also a public place, you have to respect the time of prayer. During the period of Ramadan it is certainly not appropriate to overeat or smoke if there are present Muslims neighbors, and you can’t offer them a drink.

Also talking about religion is not recommended, especially if you intend to criticize. It is absolutely forbidden to openly criticize the State or the King (which can be punished under criminal law, even by imprisonment).

If entering a private home you will notice that all footwear are at the entrance. You should then take the shoes off, or at least do it before you walk on the carpet.
In the event that there is an invitation for lunch, remember to use only the right hand to eat. If you then also tries to eat according to the custom, without cutlery, using only three fingers to bring food to the mouth: the thumb, index and middle, maybe with the help of a piece of bread. The left hand is used instead for ablutions and is considered unclean.

For this same reason you should only use the right hand to caress the children and also to give a gift.

The hospitality of the inhabitants is very large, and generally are all courteous; it is likely that the Moroccan favorite drink, the mint tea, is offered to tourists. In this case we do not absolutely refuse, otherwise it runs the real risk of offending them. This tea is made with sweetened green tea flavored with fresh mint, and sually you will drink it for breakfast, or before, during and after lunch, in the afternoon with pastries, until the evening. If you just do not get to drink it all, it is better to accept it anyway and drink only a sip.

Another thing to be careful of is that it is not considered polite to blow your nose at the table.

If you want to buy some items in the souk it is useful to know that the trader expects a long negotiation for the price. Then you should certainly accept the asking price at the beginning, in fact. It may also be that we sit down to drink tea (of course the mint!) To bargain more comfortably, you absolutely need not be shy in this case if you do not want to make a bad deal.

Souq

Photo CC-BY 2.0 Cloudzilla

The market is everywhere usually close to the hotel and you can speak French with locals. In fact, this language is taught at school and almost everyone speaks it, perhaps with accents and different sounds, but still understandable. The official language is Arabic but obviously in the inland areas and the Berber villages they  speak their own dialect.

One last tip that has nothing to do with the customs and traditions of Morocco but which can still be very useful for those who want to spend a quiet holiday without intestinal problems: it is better to avoid eating in small inexpensive restaurants!

However, it should absolutely not be afraid, with a little sensitivity and common sense you will certainly have a fantastic holiday in Morocco!