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Most Moroccans today consider themselves to be Berber or Arab, or a mix of the two. Within these two groups there are unique traditions as well as shared ones. Cultural practices, celebrations, dress and cuisine also vary according to region.

But where did these traditions come from? Although Morocco’s long history has included periods of rule and influence by the Phoenicians, Romans, and Byzantines, it was the Arab Muslims and later the Moors who had the greatest impact on Moroccan culture. These effects are clearly seen in Moroccan architecture, art, as well as in Morocco’s diverse cuisine. Jews, too, as well as the Spanish, brought rich traditions to the Maghreb.

In more recent times the French occupation played a significant role, and thanks to Morocco’s proximity to Europe and advances in technology, modern Western influences are slowly working their way into Moroccan culture as well.

Flames of a bonfire burn bright orange in the dark. Wood can be seen through the flames.

Ashura in Morocco: A Puzzling Celebration

Mabrouk laawasher (laawacher) is an expression one constantly hears in Morocco during the first ten days of the Islamic year. It means, “Happy ten days.” But the good wishes aren’t for the new year...

Walnuts, almonds and dates are mounded into a Moroccan serving dish.

Day of Ashura and Moroccan Traditions

In Morocco, there’s no mistaking when the Islamic lunar month of Muharram draws near. It’s the time of year, not long after Eid al Adha, when the startling, noisy blast of firecrackers can be heard...

Small herd of sheep grazing on dry, flat field in Morocco. A man with a hat and long stick watches over them.

Understanding Islamic Sacrificial Slaughter

Udhiyah and qurbani are interchangeable Arabic terms for the sacrificial slaughter of a sheep, goat, cow or camel as mandated for Muslims during the Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Adha. A sacrificial slaughter is also...