Traveling in Morocco, you are bound to trip across one of the most defining characteristics of the country – the Berbers. As the original inhabitants of Morocco, they are rightly proud of the contributions they have made in shaping the country. With a unique language and culture, the Berbers stand out as one of last bastions of tradition in an ever-modernizing society; while even the oldest villagers now happily chat on cell phones, they do so in a tongue almost impenetrable to anyone from the outside world.
The Ashura Festival in Morocco (often spelled: “achoura”) is truly a festival for kids… and kids at heart! Kids all get new toys, as well as the staple Darbuka (a goblet drum) and Berrada (a clay piggy bank). Kids go from playing music and eating healthy treats, like fakia, to playing with water.
But there is so much more to the Ashura Festival in Morocco than just drums and toys! Ashura is a perfect example of the Judaeo-Islamic tradition in Morocco, deeply rooted in values of tolerance and coexistence.
Morocco was once home to the largest population of Jews in the Arab world, a figure topping 300,000 inhabitants. These people left behind a vast history visible through the ancient Jewish sites of Morocco. Today the number has largely diminished but many of the historical sites have remained intact and offer a glimpse into a part of Moroccan culture that is unique to the region. While the relationship between Muslim and Jewish residents has had ups and downs, the legacy and richness of Morocco’s Jewish population remains a national treasure. (more…)
The music of Morocco is as diverse and as culturally rich as its people. Styles vary from region to region and are greatly influenced by the region’s ethnic groups and cultural heritage. Depending where you visit you will hear the classical Arab-Andalusian music, the folk music of the Berber people, Gnawa and the popular music styles of Rai and Chaabi. Head to the bottom of this post for some Moroccan music you can download and enjoy at home or on your own Moroccan road trip! (more…)
So you’ve moved on from Volubilis and still yearn to survey more Roman ruins in Morocco. Because Morocco’s Roman past is so rich, you’ll have more ruins to explore than found in any European museum. Nestled directly outside the city of Larache just south along the Atlantic coast of Asilah lays the Roman ruins of Lixus. Once occupied by sun-worshiping ancestors of prehistoric Morocco settlers, Lixus Roman ruins extends some of Morocco’s greatest treasures to visitors willing to take an hour or two to explore its ancient charisma and modern collapse. (more…)