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Culture of Morocco

Morocco, officially the kingdom of Morocco, is a Muslim country in Western North Africa.

Stores in the medina streets of Fez, Morocco. [Photo Credit: BeberBazar]

The culture of Morocco is a mixture of ethnic tradition and religion replicating the Arab, Berber, Jewish and Western European cultures. The culture signifies and is formed by a convergence of influences through history.

Although, Morocco started out to be a Sunni Muslim state in the 9th to 10th century, there has been influences from the old Jewish population and several other groups into the culture. The culture of Morocco is as diverse as its landscape, but they have managed to maintain a unity that is very evident even amongst families.

Majority of people living in Morocco are Berbers and Arabs, which forms the basis for the widely spoken Berber and Arabic language. Foreign languages such as French, English, and Spanish are also spoke in the urban areas of Morocco.

Islam is the major religion in Morocco, while the majority of those who practice Christianity are foreigners. Other religions are Judaism and Baha’l faith. In Morocco, the importance of family is taught and children are expected to take care of their parents when they grow old.

Just like the culture, music in Morocco is also characterized by diversity from one region to another. Moroccan music includes Arabic music genres such as Chaabi and Aita, Berber music such as Rif Reggada and Souss ahwash, and Deqqa Marrakshia and gnawa. There is also modern music like rap, blues, reggae and so on.

The migration of Muslims from Valencia to Morocco brought about Tarab al-ala (joy of the instrument), a celebrated musical style in Morocco.

Traditionally, decorative art are very important to Moroccans. They are known to build incredible art scenes round the country. The modern Moroccan art has also been influenced by the traditional Berber and Islamic art.

Moroccan men and women dress in long, loose, hooded cloth called djellaba which is worn is to protect them from the harsh weather. On special occasions, men dress in Bernouse while men wear kaftans. The women are usually more adorned, with their brightly colored dresses heavily decorated with ornaments.

In Morocco, weddings are one of the most celebrated events in the country. The groom must gift his bride gifts which include sugar and henna before the wedding. Two days before the wedding, the bride will attend the traditional Hanam (Sauna) with her family for purification. Here, the family sings the traditional songs.

Afterwards is the henna ceremony for the bride. The wedding itself lasts a long time with couple often sat on a traditional ornamental chair called Amariya. During the wedding, the Negafa (makeup) must ensure the bride stays beautiful.

 

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Written by Monsurat

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