Morocco is comprised of a melting pot of different cultural backgrounds. The most popular cultural background is Arab-Berber descent. Many of the modern Berber tribes reside deep in the mountain and desert regions that make up the outskirts of Morocco. These are the friendliest people a visitor could hope to come across in these regions.
For many years, Islam has been the dominant religion in Morocco. As modern times approached, this began to change. Mixed in among this are an estimated 100,000 Christians of French descent and 8,000 Jews. The Jewish community resides primarily in Casablanca and Marrakech.
The central focal point of Islam the Mosque. It is here that the Muslim worship follows traditional detail. Mosques are the epitome of Islam religion. There is no place in Morocco more sacred or holy than a Mosque. For this reason, the mosques are off limits to outside or non-Muslim visitors. Mosques present some of the most beautiful Moroccan architecture. Intermixed with these pieces of beauty are Catholic and Protestant churches along with Jewish Synagogues. This is mostly in the more populated city areas as opposed to Moroccan countryside.
The common language spoken in Morocco is a variation of Arabic a.k.a. Darija (For travel e-course covering Darija basics and country facts click Here and sign up for free!). The variations spoken depend on location within the country and countryside. Along with this, the French language is common to the south while French and Spanish is spoken by many locals in the north. Tourist hotspots such as resorts and dining establishments are the few places where one can hear the English language spoken fluently.
Moroccan people do not expect visitors on a holiday in Morocco to be fluent in these languages. An appreciation forms when visitors attempt to speak the language. Some basic conversation starters are Sabah Al-khayr for “Hello” and Maa Elsalama for “Goodbye.” A simple Shokran, or “thank you,” can go along way.Basic questions can be answered with either naam for “yes” or laa for “no.”
Moroccan people can seem overwhelming and un-approachable upon first glance. However, once you take the time to get to know them, it is easy to see how hospitable and friendly they really are. Police presence is constant in all cities and tourist destinations throughout the country. For this, Morocco boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
Morocco maintains a vast appreciation for its cultural background. The historical traditions formulated over time help shape modern day Morocco. These historical and cultural values extend to all who choose to visit Morocco. It will be a visit not soon forgotten.
by Sam Mitchell