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Morocco
 
Society and Culture

People and Cultures
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The Moroccan nation owes its diverseness to the many cultures that have influenced it during the course of its history. Initially, the area now known as Morocco seems to have been inhabited by Libyans and Ethiopians who were collectively called Barbaroi or Berbers. They lived in tribal groups in the area during a period of sultanate dynasties. There was no subjection to a singular government in the area at the time. Slowly, various national groups started to impact on the area such as Arabs, Phoenicians, Byzantines, Romans, Spaniards, Portuguese, Europeans and the French. Much of this influence came in the form of hostilities on the Spanish coast. Over a long period of time, the area became claimed and ruled by other countries until it established its independence in 1956. Though it would seem most Berbers were once pagan worshipers, the majority (98.7%) of the country now practice Islam. The rest of the population practice Christianity or Judaism.

The population of Morocco numbers over 30 million people. Lifestyles differ depending on the areas that people live in. People living in rural areas generally tend to grow plants or tend livestock for food. However there are far greater clusters of people in the cities which bustle with life at all times of the day. Souks (markets) are virtually a way of life for most Moroccans and can be found in every town and city. The Majority of Souks, however, are closed during the lunch period and on Fridays. Most moroccans are friendly and hospitable and will extend warm invitations if you do not act rude or unfriendly towards them.

Facts

Population Density
72 People per square kilometer
Age Structure 0-14yrs
Males: 5,355,388;
Females: 5,156,762 aged between 15-64yrs;
Males 10,013,466;
Females: 10,112,060 65+
Males: 692,465; Females: 878,960
Ethnic Groups
Arab Berber: 99.1%
Jewish: 0.2% Other: 0.7%
Religion Muslim: 98.7%
Christian: 1.1%
Jewish: 0.2%
Literacy Rate:
Men: 64.1%
Woman: 39.4%

The following are brief descriptions of some Moroccan secialties in various filds. For more information please refer to Ministry of Tourism website

Craft Industry
The Moroccan craft industry is known for its beauty, great taste and the diversity it derived from being opened to many civilizations. The proficiency and refined taste of the Moroccan handcraft makers is reflected in their charming products ranging from traditional cloths and carpets to complicated architectural designs and conceptions. The products of Moroccan handcraft are appreciated worldwide and their export is an important source of income to many Moroccan artisans.

Historical Monuments
Throughout its history, Morocco has known the rise and fall of successive empires and dynasties. As a result, Moroccan architectural heritage is characterized by the rich diversity of its monuments and archaeological sites which stand as a constant reminder of the great cultural and historical heritage of this country. Many old Moroccan cities and historical sites and monuments are recognized as part of the world’s cultural heritage. The old Medina of Fès and the famous Jamaa El-Fna Place in Marrakech, recognized by the UNESCO as part of the World cultural heritage, are examples illustrating the value and the richness of Moroccan historical and cultural heritage.

Music
Music constitutes an important factor within the Moroccan society since it is meant to express the joy and to celebrate gatherings and ceremonies. Moroccan Folklore deeply reflects the costumes and the traditions of the Moroccan people. Each region of Morocco has a unique type of folklore; for instance, we find Gnawa in the region of Marrakech, Chikhat in places like Casablanca and Dukkala Abda, Malhoune in old cities such as Fes and Rabat. In fact there many types of folklore associated to each region of Morocco.

Customs & Traditions
One important aspect of the Moroccan customs and traditions is clothing. Morocco has a unique way in dressing both and women. There are many traditional customs that are specific to the Moroccan culture. For instance women wear the famous Caftan both as a casual traditional wear and also as a custom for special occasions. On the other hand, men wear Jellaba and Jabador. This kind of cloths is now known in many countries and people are more and more interested in it.

Gastronomy
The Moroccan cuisine is known for its delicious and unique dishes like Kouskous and Tajine. This cuisine has existed since more than 2000 years. It is a spicy cuisine that combines cooking salty and sweet food. There are three ways of cooking Moroccan food:

  • Fried food called Makli
  • Roasted food called Mhammar
  • Barbecue called Meshwi

Theatre
The modern form of Drama was not introduced to Morocco until the beginning 1920s. The movement of modern theatre was lunched with the foundation of the following theatrical troops:

  • The troop of Mohamed Ben Zakour in Tangier
  • The troop of Mohamed Al Qorri in Fez
  • The troop of Mohamed Al Yazidi in Rabat
However, traditional forms of theatre did exist in Morocco prior to this period such as the art of Halqa that was held in public places where people used to gather around the actors and watch them play.

Literature
Literature in its modern form is also young in Morocco, yet many Moroccan names excelled in this domain and offered the Moroccan people a number of great books and novels. The characteristic of the Moroccan literature is that it tends to be bilingual since we find authors who write in Arabic and others who write in French. A burgeoning Moroccan literature in English has begun to take form in recent years with the publication of literary texts by Moroccan authors.

Cinema
The first camera was introduced to Morocco in 1907 by Felix Meguich. Than, the cinematographic production started under the French protectorate; many films were produced such as “Mektoub3 realized by J. Pinchon and Daniel Quenton. After this period, the domain of cinema knew many developments and now the Moroccan cinema is able to present to the world many excellent films.

Festivals
Many local, national and international festivals are organized each year in Morocco. They cover all the artistic domains such as cinema and music. Some of these festivals became yearly tradition where a number of artists gather; the International Film Festival of Marrakech is one of the festivals that attract famous artists and thousands of spectators.

Media & Communication
During the last few years Morocco adopted new political and economic reforms which had a positive impact on the freedom of speech and the evolution of media. The Moroccan media have become the mirror of the society and it is highly contributing in the development of the country in many domains especially in Human rights.

Sports
Many Moroccan athletes proved their power and success in the international sport gatherings like the world’s championships and the Olympics. Naoual El Motawakil, Said Aouitta, and Hicham Elgerouj are among the few names that proudly represent Morocco in the domain of sports.

 
 
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