Location&Size Morocco lies on the northwest corner of Africa across the strait of Gibraltar from Spain. About the size of California ,Morocco covers 172,413 square miles (446,550 square kilometers ). Western Sahara , disputed region which Morocco claims and administers , is 102,703 square miles (266,000 square kilometers) in area.
Language The official language of Morocco is Arabic. Although French also has official status and is used widely in business, government and high education . Moroccan Arabic called Darija (literary “dialect”), is the most widely spoken tongue. Derija is quite different from the classical Arabic of the Qur’an . Many Moroccans understand Arabic dialects in neighboring countries. Imazighen people , or some 60 percent of the population , speak Amazigh dialects in addition to Arabic.
Music • Andalusian music, as its name indicates, comes from Andalusia. It is a blend of Arab and Spanish music that Moroccans call El-Ala and is considered to be Morocco’s classical music which is sung in classical Arabic. • The second type of music is Berber music. The three different Berber regions in Morocco each possesses their own language and, in turn, their own Berber rhythms. Berber music has survived thanks to a few Berber musicians and poets.
Music • Chaabi is probably considered pop music since it is indeed the most popular music listened to in Morocco. It is another form of Moroccan music that is widely listened to because it is sung in Darija, Moroccan Arabic.
Holidays • Each year, Muslims observe Ramadan, a month of fasting and prayer, when no eating, drinking, or smoking is permitted from dawn to sunset. In the evenings, families eat together and visit relatives or friends. • Children, pregnant women, travelers, foreign visitors, and the ill are exempt from the fast.
Religious holidays include Aid al Saghir (the three-day feast at the end of Ramadan), Aid al Kebir (the feast at the end of the pilgrimage to Makkah), and Mouloud (celebrating the birth of Muhammad). • In addition, numerous Moussems (religious festivals) are held throughout the year.
Famous residents • Hicham el-Guerrouj, the country’s most famous international athlete , holds the world record for the one mile (1.6-km) run , which he set in1999. He also holds the world record for the 1.500-meter run. • Nawal El Moutawakel, became the first women from an Arab country to win an Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles race at the 1984 los angles Olympics …
Food • One of the world’s great cuisines, Moroccan food combines traditional Berber dishes with spices from the Arab world and ingredients from Spain. • The main stable food of the Moroccan diet is couscous , a grain made of cracked wheat.
For holidays and major feasts , a whole lamb may be roasted aver charcoal . Along the coasts , seafood id popular and readily , available fresh from the day’s catch. • A popular dish is Tagine a stew of spiced vegetables and meat . One of the most tasty Moroccan dishes is pastilla, a delicate pastry stuffed with pigeon meat , eggs , cinnamon , and sugar.
Food & Drink • For desserts, Moroccans eat pastries stuffed with almond paste or plates of fresh fruit and nuts . • Night and day, Moroccans are rehydrated by two popular drinks -- freshly squeezed orange juice and mint tea, the national drink.
Notoriety • Morocco style is fascinating with its decorative arts and richness of beautiful colors and patterns. Moroccan inspired interior design is gaining the momentum of major international design trend due to its blend and fusion of African, Andalusian, Arabian, Berber, and European style that created a unique & timeless.
One of the main elements in Moroccan interior design and home decorating is zillij.zillij is the art of hand cutting geometric and miomorphic mosaics may not be unique to Morocco, but the Moroccan master craftsmen have elevated this essentially Islamic art to its highest form of expression. • Along with zellij tile is Morocco’s famous tradition of pottery. The pottery produced in Morocco is for both practical and artistic purposes
Some of Morocco’s finest pottery is produced in the region of Zagora, within the Sahara Desert in a small town called Tamagroute. • Tamagroute is one of Morocco’s most famous towns that has become known for a unique kind of pottery, Forrest green in color, rugged and whose glaze is made from the henna plant.
Moroccan carpets are famous around the world. In the West, the tightly woven beige Berber rugs are found in most modern homes, schools and offices. Although these rugs are stain resistant their dark flecks of brown and tan do not compare to the thousands of intricate designs and colors of the traditional Berber carpets of Morocco.
Tradition • Moroccans generally shake hands when greeting, after which one might touch the heart to express pleasure at seeing the other person or to show personal warmth. • Moroccans eat with the right hand only. • It is impolite to point at people or to let the bottom of the foot point toward a person.
Moroccans generally consider it improper to cross their legs . Some might cross the legs at the knees but would not place an ankle over a knee. • Dating in the Western sense does not occur in Morocco. In rural areas, young men and women often do not meet their mates until they are to be married.
Urban couples meet in various situations, ask permission of their parents to marry, and have time to get acquainted before they get married. When a couple is engaged, the man pays the woman's father or eldest brother a sum of money to meet her wedding expenses. This payment sometimes inhibits a man from marrying because he cannot afford it. Women usually bring a dowry into the marriage.
Weddings signify a new union between families and are celebrated as lavishly as possible. A wedding usually lasts two days. The first day is for the bride's female relatives and friends to come together and sing and dance. They decorate the bride's hands and feet with henna (a red plant dye).
On the second day, the groom's family and bride's family celebrate the wedding together to show they are one family.
Traditional clothing • 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 bernousse and mostly referred to as Fez Women on the other hand wear caftans decorated with ornaments. • Nearly all men wear balgha ---those soft leather slippers with no heel, often in yellow. Many women do as well but others wear high-heeled sandals, often in silver or gold tinsel.
The women’s djellabas are mostly of bright colors with ornate patterns, stitching, or beading, while men wear djellabas in plainer, neutral colors.
For Men Djellaba For Women
The production of such garments is relatively expensive, as most of the work is done by hand. Despite the costs involved most women purchase a minimum of one new kaftan or "tk'chita" every year, normally for a special, social event, such as a religious festival or a wedding. Nowadays, it is an unwritten rule that Moroccan dress is worn at such events.