Morocco Cultural Overview
As an Islamic country, Morocco stands out distinctly for a significant reason. Due to the bold and strenuous efforts by King Mohammed VI, Islam in Morocco is rapidly turning out to be a tool to modernize and democratize the country. A revolutionary effort is on the way to reinvent the religion with a tolerant interpretation of the Koran. To aid this mission, the government has launched a website, a radio and a TV channel. Apart from this, religious dialogues are also held inviting the participation of elite public and religious heads. The recent efforts of the government strive to fuse Islam, modernization and civil rights.
Morocco is a bilingual country with Arabic and French as official languages. Arabic is widely spoken by common masses while French is taught in schools. Therefore, French is extensively used in government, business and elite circles. In the city of Casablanca, English is well known and widely used. Spanish is quite popular in the north of Morocco. More than 40% of the Moroccans are of Berber origin. Though Berbers got converted to Islam eventually, their ethnic and linguistic affiliations have remained with them till this day. Therefore, Berber dialects such as Tachelhit, Tamazight and Tarifit are widely used in Morocco, even in journalism and mass media.
Islamic Clothing of Morocco
Costumes differ from town to town in Morocco being influenced by Spanish, Turkish, Balkan, Berber and French traditions. The Moroccan men wear djellaba, a long, loose, full sleeve garment with a hood. A red cap called tarbouche or Fez is worn on special occasions. Also, most Moraccan men and women wear soft, heelless, leather slippers called Baboosh, yellow in color. High-heeled sandals with silver or gold tinsel are also popular among women. The djellabas worn by women are dominated by bright colors and ornate patterns woven by hand, whereas those worn by men are plain in neutral colors. A hoodless type of djellaba called Kaftans is also popular. Despite the high costs of the traditional dress, Moroccans are strongly attached to their dress and purchase at least a new pair every year.
Moroccan culinary traditions are predominantly based on a diet of meat and candies. A rich soup called harira; sweet empanada with meat of dove; cuscus made with semola, egg, chicken, lamb or vegetables; Tajine made with lamb or chicken; chicken stuffed with almonds, semola and raisins; the roasted meat of sheep called mchoui; and the candies of the kab-el-ghzal and almond are some of the delicious dishes of Morocco that would enthrall any visitor.
Moroccon Social Life
Principles of sound democracy are heralded in Morocco and are already on their way to modernize the country. The new family code adopted by the parliament in 2003 has conferred equal status to women in marriage, children and property. Fighting against religious fanaticism and striving to modernize Islam, Morocco is emerging as a model for democratic Islam. Ethnically and culturally, one can say that today’s Morocco is the least Arabic among Arab countries.