What is Ramadan?
Ramadan represents a remarkable spiritual event whose celebration is renewed on a yearly basis. Each year, the Muslim population globally celebrates the holly month. It is the month of ‘Quran’ revelation to prophet Mohamed -peace be upon him-. He is the Muslims’ spiritual guide and leader. Endless commitment to Allah is shown in every practice during the holly month.
In Ramadan, people abstain from food, drink and intimate relationships from sunrise to sunset. Officially, the first day of the fasting month would start according to moon sighting.
Going to Morocco during Ramadan has a unique charm and enjoyment. The early signs of the holly month nearing arrival are transmitted through a radical engagement in every corner of the cities across the country: souks, mosques, houses and public locations.
What makes Ramadan so special in Morocco?
Moroccan people are known to be very fond of their own traditions. They celebrate their religious occasions in their own way. In the very Moroccan philosophy, the holy month is a turning point for your spirit to be purified. It is an appropriate time to share what you have with the needy and the poor. Preparation for the coming of Ramadan starts a month or so before its coming.
Walking through the narrow streets of Moroccan cities during Ramadan has a very special kind of pleasure.
You will smell the delicious ‘Harira’ in each corner and see big crowds of people rushing ahead to get their share of the favorite cookies called ‘chebakia’.
Chebakia: is a famous type of cookies soaked in honey with a beautiful shape and amazing taste. It is present at each Iftar on Moroccan tables. Moroccan streets are transformed into a real workshop where everybody is busy!
Food variations during Ramadan
Fasting does not automatically mean less or light food for Moroccans.
The moroccan cuisine traditional rich dishes are served with extra care and perfection ….they are specially made for Ramadan. The dishes are various and different from an area to another but there is a range of common features for a typical Moroccan ‘Iftar’ or ‘Ftoor’ “breakfast”.
It is time for the family members to gather around one table sharing their tasty meal and exchanging intimate stories. It is a moment of celebration, happiness and enjoyment.
The Ftoor takes a few hours. Various dishes are served so more space and tables are required especially because Moroccans often have guests during Ramadan.
Children and Women activities during Ramadan
Few days before Ramadan, children show signs of extreme happiness
School will adopt a new schedule, which means less study hours. Every night, children will be allowed to play outdoor till late hours at night and they feel like they are having parties every night.
Women are totally engaged looking for necessary supplies and ingredients for their dishes. They pay regular visits to the local souks and see what are the newly arrived choices of spices and food supplies. Everybody is engaged…It is really, a cool experience.
Moroccan tradition during Ramadan:
The air Siren which is called ‘’Zowaka’’ is a traditional sign of the coming of Iftar time. It is an official announcement heard by everybody. It has a very loud sound. The ritual will follow some seconds later. It is called Adhan in the Moroccan mother tongue.
Nowadays, this tradition is on its way to disappearance being replaced by modern ways and live broadcasts of calls for prayer.
Charities in Ramadan:
During the entire month of Ramadan, people give away charities to the poor and share all what they have with those who are in need.
A free Ftoor is served by volunteers and taken to every mosque across the country. Homeless people will find a shelter and fresh food to break the fast.
The 27 day of Ramadan: Night of Destiny!
It is the twenty seventh night of Ramadan which celebrates the Quran revelation every year. It is a very special and spiritual night for all Muslims. All family members gather at the house. Gifts are being offered and most of the gifts consist of Moroccan traditional clothes such us the ‘Caftan’ and Moroccan ‘jellabas’ or even cash money gifts.
People practice on this special night what is called ‘Tarawih’ which are prayers performed in groups or pairs during the whole night. Some people especially women prefer to pray at home whereas men rush to the mosques and stay there all night long. Mint tea and cookies are present on the tables after finishing the prayers. ‘Bkhour’ is one more special practice during this night. It is performed by burning a fragrant dry plant to spread the nice perfume in every house.
What do tourists expect if they visit Morocco during the holly month?
Moroccan people are very open-minded. They tolerate tourists to practice their total freedom during their stay. If you are a tourist, you will not experience any discomfort or embarrassment to live normally during Ramadan. Only few restaurants are open during the day and the services are relatively limited. That is why the vast majority of tourists avoid travelling to Morocco during Ramadan although flights are available and cheap.
Many Moroccans invite the tourist to witness the Ftoor at their respective houses. More than that, some tourists would love to be engaged in the fasting experience. They appreciate the intimate and warm moments of the Moroccan family sharing the same table and exchanging funny stories with golden cups of flavored mint tea.
Eid al-Fitr: Celebration of victory!
After thirty days of continuous fasting, faithful prayers and total obedience, Moroccans would end up their happy adventure and break their fast. It is time to celebrate the feast called EID AL FITR.
Everybody seems happy and satisfied. People exchange family visits…It is time for sin’s forgiveness and merciful relations to be established between all members of the Muslim community. It is considered the day of reward, and victory Celebration!
Women clean their houses and decorate them; they wear their special Aid garments and decorated jellabas. They buy new outfits for their kids and prepare a collection of homemade cookies, cakes and pastries. Men go to attend the feast prayer then exchange visits to all relatives.