Morocco Culture & People – A World Between Tradition and Modernity
A colourful society full of tradition
The culture of Morocco is marked by the rich history of the country and the peoples who have inhabited it for centuries. The original inhabitants are the Berbers, who settled as nomads in the territory of today’s Morocco 6000 years ago. They were followed by Arabs in several waves of immigration, as well as the minority groups Hawatin and Gnawa, who live mainly on the border with Western Sahara. The French and Spanish colonial history has also left its traces in Morocco. This mix makes Morocco an exciting country full of diversity that will surprise you every day of your journey.
Multilingualism and Religion
The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and the Berber dialect Mazirian. Due to its historical past, French is still widely spoken. Young Moroccans, in particular, are increasingly learning English, also because of the necessity of this language for tourism professions. Religious life is dominated by Islam, which is professed by over 98% of the population. The three-day sugar festival at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, is one of the social highlights of the year. The small Moroccan minority, which belongs to Christianity, is above all Catholic. The once largest North African community of the Jewish religion has shrunk to a minimum in recent decades due to emigration to Israel. Only in Casablanca there is a small, but all the more active community and the coexistence of the different religious groups is very harmonious.
Moroccan table manners and craftsmanship
Not only at religious festivals, but also in everyday life, food has a very special significance and a simple meal is quickly transformed into an impressive celebration during a visit. If you are invited to dinner with a Moroccan family, you will be welcomed with warm and attentive hospitality. For a perfect evening there are only a few rules to follow: Shoes are always taken off in the hallway and never worn in the living rooms, as a gift for the guests they are especially happy about small sweets and are eaten with the right hand. As colourful as the Moroccan cuisine full of couscous, fresh vegetables, herbs and grilled meat, are the art and traditional crafts of the country. The markets sell brightly coloured ceramics, high quality leather goods and the decorative copper and brass objects that are very popular in Morocco. Another cultural characteristic comes into play here: bargaining!