By Sara Elhamdaoui
By Sara Elhamdaoui
Rabat – Ramadan is the month of spirituality, prayer, charity, and abstention from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. The spirituality of the holy month also carries with it elements of Moroccan tradition dating centuries. Aspects of cultural traditions are linked to the observance of Ramadan. as it is a unique and essential time of the year when people are eager to openly celebrate tradition without fear of being judged.
Traditional dishes and pastries are at the top of the list of most consumed foods during Ramadan. Sandwiches and chips are quickly replaced with a delightful soup called Harira and with rich honey pastries called Chebbakiya,. The ftour – the Arabic word for breakfast as Muslims break their fast in a literal sense upon sunset – is undoubtedly the most important meal in a Ramadan day. For that matter, Moroccan households enthusiastically decorate their tables with all sorts of Moroccan dishes and pastries, including customary pastries like briwate, baghrire, and msemmen. In the past, it was common for most Moroccan families to make these pastries at home. Today, many opt to purchase these delicacies at bakeries that increase in numbers during Ramadan.
Ramadan is the time of year to listen to Amdah and Andalusian music, traditional music genres originating in Muslim Spain consisting of poems praising the Prophet Muhammad. This has become a part of Moroccan tradition for the past four centuries. Moroccan national television broadcasts Amdah and Andalusian music a few minutes before the ftour everyday; it has now become one of the most refined genres of Moroccan music. Andalusian music is enjoyed in other religious holidays, such as Eid El Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and Eid Al Adha, the Muslim feast commemorating Abraham’s sacrifice.
This holy month is characterized quite distinctly by the adoption of wearing abayas, a robe-like cloak, and djellabas, the Moroccan traditional costume. Men and women of all ages wear djellabas during Ramadan as they are comfortable and are considered appropriate attire for prayer. Although the tradition of wearing djellabas has died out among the younger generations, Ramadan makes it a popular and trendy outfit for all ages.
With busy schedules consuming our lives, Ramadan is the occasion that gathers families around the ftour tables—a custom that, for some, has begun to fade with the advent of technology. Family gatherings also become more popular during Ramadan as per Islamic recommendations that aim to maintain a close-knit family and encourage Muslims to visit their extended families as well.
1400 years later, the most important night of the whole month of Ramadan, the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr), is still celebrated by Moroccans. In Islam, Laylat al-Qadr is the night when heaven’s doors are opened, motivating people to engage in night-long prayers and Quran recitations. Some Moroccan families typically celebrate the spirituality of this day by cooking couscous, applying makeup and henna to their children, and by taking their children out for pictures and videos so as to make this day a memorable one
The observance of Ramadan is evidence of Morocco’s strong attachment to its rich Islamic and cultural traditions. Thus, this holy month is the ideal opportunity for our generation to transmit the Kingdom’s rich culture and multitude of traditions to generations to come.
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