Casablanca – What is the day preceding Ramadan like? Overly crowded shops are the first unusual thing one might notice here in Morocco. Consumerism is at its peak, as people do around 10-day to 20-day shopping, packing up their trolleys with all sorts of basic alimentary products.
While streets in Casablanca start being deserted at around 12:00 in normal days, the day before Ramadan is quite an exception. Lights are on, cars and all sorts of vehicles are numberless and streets are more vivid than in daytime.
Shops remain open for two or three hours longer, as people almost unceasingly flock to them to get their last primordial ingredients for the first day of Ramadan. One could almost hear phone ringtones and message rings as people send and receive wishes of a blessed Ramadan from their friends and relatives.
You could also hear kids chatting in the street about who will fast the first day of Ramadan, who will fast more days, or who will barely hold on until a specific hour of the day. Ramadan is in everyone’s talk, and nice wishes are the first couple of words you hear in all conversations you start, and form all people in your neighborhood.
Mosques radiate a new air of enchanting spirituality and worship. Imams offer a series of religious lectures mostly related to Ramadan as a whole, and particularly to certain practices characteristic of the holy month. Street mosques made of tents are set up thanks to the financial contribution of generous Moroccans and to the collective handwork of community representatives.
The homeless and the impoverished become more visible as Ramadan opens its doors. Some Moroccans do not only shop for themselves, but also for the destitute and the orphans. Generosity, a typical trait constituting “Moroccanhood”, is best manifested in these very moments.
The majority of people become discernibly more forgiving, tolerant and grateful. You might get a smile from the least person you would expect that from. You might also get a wish message from the person with whom you had a dispute a couple weeks ago, or a helpful hand from the person you’ve always considered a foe.
Spiritual and religious start echoing and all corners of your street, and verses from the enchanting holy book reverberate in almost all houses. Pleasant odors and a vivid atmosphere invade the streets of Morocco, and people seem more than zealous to begin their first day of fasting.
The last day before the first day of Ramadan already foreshadows a month of spirituality; a month of forgiveness and self-actualization; a month of self-redemption; a month during which all inner and external conflicts appear as banalities before supreme causes; a month in which even the most Utopian ideal, equality, becomes nothing less than another reality.
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