Exploring the Culture of Morocco for Independence DayNov 17, 2021 09:00AM ● By Oga Africa
(A mother and child of the Berber Tribe in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Image by Dmitri Markine via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Berber-Tribe-Morocco.jpg )
Happy Independence Day, Morocco! Although the country gained independence from France on November 5th, 1955, the country celebrates independence on November 18th, as King Mohammed returned from exile as Moroccan ruler on November 18, 1955. To commemorate independence, we are exploring the intriguing culture and cuisine of Morocco. Let’s jump right in!
Morocco is historically home to the Almavorid dynasty, a confederation of Berber tribes, headquartered in Morocco, that controlled regions spanning from parts of present-day Spain to Mali. This dynasty, also known as al-Murabitun, which lasted from 1062 to 1150, had dominion over many parts of the Sahara and controlled the Trans-Saharan trade during their reign.
The cuisine of Morocco consists of couscous as a staple, and meats like fish, chicken, and red meat, and stewed vegetables. Some dishes of the country include Fish Chermoula, a baked or grilled fish dish that has been marinated in chermoula, consisting of spices like saffron, onion, coriander and more, Harira, or Moroccan lentil soup, Khobz, an oven-baked bread, and Brochettes, which are beef, chicken or lamb kebabs that are salted, spiced and grilled on an open fire. Moroccan couscous is made from semolina and often paired with stews, meats, and more. In Morocco, it is a tradition to eat with the right hand. Couscous is often eaten by being rolled into a ball with the palm of the hand.
Moroccan culture is very conservative, and most female travelers wear the custom clothes in the country, which include long, loose fitting clothes that cover from the chest to the knees, and sometimes arms and legs. Male travelers who follow the custom wear clothes that cover their shoulders and knees.
(Bazaar, Marrakesh, Morocco. Image by Ninara via Flickr)
The capital of Morocco, Marrakesh, is known for its elaborate markets, known as souks, where items like tea kettles, spices, rugs and more are bargained or haggled for. It is said that the price of items in souks should be bargained down at least 70% of the original price. Marrakesh is known as Red City due to its many clay buildings that were constructed in pre-colonial times by the Almohad dynasty.
Morocco is a monarchy, which means the country has a king and a royal family. Openly criticizing the monarchy can have repercussions like going to jail. Rashad Hussain King Mohamed IV, the current King of Morocco, is known for his reforms in helping the poor and women.
The country is an Islamic state. In 685, Arabs invaded North Africa and Islamicized the region, including Morocco. An overwhelming majority of Moroccans are of the Sunni Muslim denomination.
Have you ever visited Morocco? What was your experience there? Comment below!