The peoples of Morocco... - Culture & Traditions

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Culture & Traditions

Morocco is a country of multi-ethnic groups with a rich culture and civilisation. Through Moroccan history, Morocco hosted many people in addition to the indigenous Berbers, coming from both East (Phoenicians, Jews and Arabs), South (Sub-Saharan Africans) and North (Romans and Vandals). All of which have had an impact on the social structure of Morocco. It conceived many forms of beliefs, from paganism, Judaism, Christianity to Islam.

Each region possesses its own uniqueness, contributing to the national culture. Morocco has set among its top priorities the protection of its diversity and the preservation of its cultural heritage.

The traditional dress for men and women is called djellaba; a long, loose, hooded garment with full sleeves. For special occasions, men also wear a red cap called a bernousse, more commonly referred to as a Fez. Women wear kaftans decorated with ornaments. Nearly all men and most women wear balgha (بلغه) —- soft leather slippers with no heel, often dyed yellow. Women also wear high-heeled sandals, often with silver or gold tinsel.
The distinction between a djellaba and a kaftan is that the djellaba has a hood, while a kaftan does not. Most women’s djellabas are brightly coloured and have ornate patterns, stitching, or beading, while men's djellabas are usually plainer and coloured neutrally. Women are strongly attached to their "Moroccan wardrobe," despite the financial costs involved; the production of such garments is relatively expensive, as most of the work is done by hand, yet most women purchase a minimum of one new kaftan or takchita every year, normally for a special social event, such as a religious festival or a wedding. Nowadays, it is an unwritten rule that traditional Moroccan dress is worn at such events.

Dar, the name given to one of the most common types of domestic structures in Morocco, is a home found in a medina, or walled urban area of a city. Most Moroccan homes traditionally adhere to the Dar al-Islam, a series of tenets on Islamic domestic life.    Dars are typically composed of thick, high walls that protect inhabitants from thievery, animals, and other such hazards; however, they have a much more symbolic value from an Arabic perspective. In this culture the exterior represents a place of work, while the interior represents a place of refuge. Thus, Moroccan interiors are often very lavish in decoration and craft.

Upon entering a dar, guests move through a zigzagging passageway that hides the central courtyard. The passageway opens to a staircase leading to an upstairs reception area called a dormiria, which often is the most lavish room in the home adorned with decorative tile work, painted furniture, and piles of embroidered pillows and rugs. 

Literature
Morocco has much ancient literature.  More modern times have brought three generations of writers who especially shaped 20th century Moroccan literature.  The first was the generation that lived and wrote during the Protectorate (1912–56), its most important representative being Mohammed Ben Brahim (1897–1955). The second generation was the one that played an important role in the transition to independence with writers like Abdelkrim Ghallab (1919–2006), Allal al-Fassi (1910–1974) and Mohammed al-Mokhtar Soussi (1900–1963). The third generation is that of writers of the sixties. Moroccan literature then flourished with writers such as Mohamed Choukri, Driss Chraïbi, Mohamed Zafzaf and Driss El Khouri. Those writers were an important influence the many Moroccan novelists, poets and playwrights that were still to come.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Morocco was also a refuge for writers from abroad as Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams, Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.
In 1966 a group of Moroccan writers founded a magazine called Souffles (Breaths) that was prohibited by the government in 1972 but gave impetus to the poetry and modern romantic works of many Moroccan writers.

Testimonials

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We loved our vacation in Morocco.

Hi Max,

We loved our vacation in Morocco.  The trek completely lived up to our expectations and  the third day in the gorge exceeded them.  The accommodation was very comfortable, the food was fresh and healthy and, considering the circumstances, very well prepared.  However, what made the trip was how knowledgeable, professional and friendly our guide Abdellah Allali was, we …

Jill

The bar was heaving with expats and locals, as the band kicked out their brand of Afro-Oriental fusion.

Travel writer, Martin Hemming, travelled to Rabat with Lawrence of Morocco in March 2014, writing for the Sunday Times.

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