While the world looks forward to the festive December holidays, Moroccan Christmas traditions come to play for a set of interesting reasons.
To begin with, Christmas is not a major holiday in Morocco, as the country has a predominantly Muslim population. However, Christmas is celebrated by some people in here particularly those who are Christian or who have a Western cultural background.
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This population is the foundation of what this auspicious event is and should be like in a religiously diverse country like Morocco. They have set up decades-long traditions that usher them into the Christmas mood.
What do Moroccans Eat on Christmas?
Moroccan Christmas traditions include hearty meals. But, these meals vary depending on the individual or family’s cultural background and personal preferences. Some people choose to celebrate with traditional Moroccan dishes, while others may incorporate Western dishes into their Christmas meals.
Some traditional Moroccan dishes that may be served at Christmas include the following:
It is a slow-cooked stew made with a variety of ingredients such as meat, vegetables, and spices, and served with couscous or bread.
A dish made of steamed semolina grains, typically served with a variety of vegetables and meat.
A savory pastry made with layers of phyllo dough and filled with a mixture of meat and spices, often served as an appetizer.
A hearty soup made with lentils, chickpeas, and a variety of vegetables and spices.
Further, western dishes that are a part of Moroccan Christmas traditions include:
- Roast turkey with stuffing and gravy
- Mince pies
- Christmas pudding
- Roast potatoes and vegetables
What Traditions Does Morocco Celebrate?
Morocco is a country with a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and as such, there are many traditions and celebrations that are important to Moroccan culture. Some of the most notable traditions and celebrations in Morocco include:
- Eid al-Fitr: a major Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated with feasts, gift-giving, and special prayers.
- Eid al-Adha: another major Muslim holiday that commemorates the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son for God. Eid al-Adha is marked by the sacrifice of an animal, and the meat is shared with the poor and family members.
- Mawlid: a holiday that celebrates the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. Mawlid is marked by special prayers, readings from the Quran, and feasts.
- Independence Day: a national holiday in Morocco that commemorates the country’s independence from France in 1956. Independence Day is marked by parades, speeches, and other celebrations.
- Moussem: a traditional Moroccan festival that takes place in honor of a local saint or hero. Moussem festivals typically feature music, dance, food, and other cultural activities.
- Nowruz: a holiday that marks the beginning of the new year in the Persian calendar. Nowruz is celebrated by many people in Morocco, particularly those of Persian descent.
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These are just a few examples of the many traditions and celebrations that are important to Moroccan culture. In addition, there are many other traditions and celebrations that vary by region and cultural group within Morocco.
How do Moroccans say Merry Christmas?
Moroccan Christmas traditions include some form of salutation or exchange holiday greetings. In Moroccan Arabic, the traditional way to say “Merry Christmas” is “عيد ميلاد مجيد” (`īd mīlād majīd), which translates to “glorious birthday.”
Some people in Morocco may also use the English phrase “Merry Christmas,” or the French phrase “Joyeux Noël.”
It is worth noting that Christmas traditions in Morocco may vary depending on the region and the individual’s cultural background. Some people in Morocco may not celebrate Christmas at all, and may not exchange holiday greetings.
Is Morocco Good for Christmas?
It depends on what you are looking for in a Christmas destination. Morocco is a country with a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and as such, it offers a unique and interesting holiday experience.
However, Christmas is not a major holiday here because it is largely a Muslim nation. Many public spaces and businesses may not be decorated for the holiday or have special Christmas-themed events.
So, if you are looking for a traditional, Western-style Christmas celebration with holiday lights, Christmas markets, and other festive events, you may not find this in Morocco.
On the flipside, Morocco may be a good destination for you if you are interested in exploring a different cultural perspective on the holiday. You also get to experience the unique blend of Moroccan and Western traditions,
Generally, popular Moroccan Christmas traditions include:
- Decorating homes and public spaces with Christmas lights and decorations.
- Exchange of gifts, particularly among family and close friends.
- Singing Christmas carols and attending church services.
- Preparing and enjoying special Christmas meals, which may include traditional Moroccan dishes as well as Western dishes such as roast turkey and mince pies.
- Participating in Christmas-themed events, such as Christmas markets or tree lighting ceremonies.