Casablanca- Why do we travel to places we've never been? The answer is very simple: we travel because we are always searching for new experiences to include in our archive of special moments.
Casablanca- Why do we travel to places we’ve never been? The answer is very simple: we travel because we are always searching for new experiences to include in our archive of special moments.
If Morocco is one of those places you’ve never been, then you need to know where exactly to find these special moments and memorable experiences that are unique to Moroccan culture.
This article lists five ways that will help you find these authentic Moroccan experiences, and thus make the most of your visit to Morocco, and learn as much as you can about the culture, no matter which city you visi
1- Stay with a Moroccan Family
If you can manage to find a Moroccan family that would be willing to host you, then you’re sure to have an authentic Moroccan experience. While many hotels in Morocco try to simulate experiences that are peculiar to Moroccan culture, there is nothing like living with a Moroccan family, especially in rural areas.
Living among Moroccans will allow you to learn more about Morocco than you would ever find in the best travel guide or website. You will be able to hear the Moroccan dialect, taste Moroccan food, wear Moroccan clothes, share in some Moroccan customs, and if you’re lucky enough, witness a Moroccan celebration.
However, in order to ensure your experience with a Moroccan family is fully enjoyable, you need to be aware of the cultural norms and values of Moroccan society. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the lifestyle of a typical Moroccan family before you become their guest. That’s where travel guides and websites come in handy.
2. Look for the common, not the luxurious
Almost anything that is common in Morocco reflects traditional Moroccan culture. The souks, public baths, cafés, middle class neighborhoods and restaurants catering to locals are all places where you can find an authentic Moroccan experience.
While people in urban neighborhoods tend to be inclined towards a more individualistic lifestyle, life in lower class neighborhoods and rural areas still reflects the communal, collectivistic aspects of Moroccan society.
3. Don’t be an armchair cultural observer
The best way to have a memorable, authentic experience in Morocco and learn about its culture is to take part in it.
Be willing to take part in some Moroccan cultural practices. If you’re lucky enough to be the guest of a Moroccan family, it is likely that you will be invited to take part in a number of cultural activities; you may be invited to dance to Moroccan music, wear traditional Moroccan garments, or celebrate a typically Moroccan celebration.
Research shows that the best way to internalize knowledge is to perform knowledge. By taking part in Moroccan cultural practices, you’re sure to learn a great deal about the Moroccan people, their culture and their value system. Observation is never enough.
4. Engage in respectful and spontaneous cultural exchange
In Morocco, you should be willing to teach people about your own culture in the same way you expect Moroccans to teach you about their culture. Hence, you should expect to be asked questions about almost anything, ranging from details about day-to-day activities in your country, to commonalities and disparities in terms of how your culture conceives of spirituality, relationships, etc.
You, too, can ask as many questions as you want, about almost anything. Moroccans are very open to respectful cultural exchange and dialogue. You can even comfortably ask about delicate topics, such as religion and politics, as long as your questions are neutral and do not bear any value judgment or critique.
You will be able to see that once Moroccans understand that you’re open to an cultural exchange, they will talk to you openly and spontaneously. This spontaneity in conversation is what you should look for, as it is in spontaneity that the beauty of culture surfaces.
5. Abandon Your Culture for a while
Be willing to accept differences between your culture and that of Moroccans. If you ever come across some cultural practices or hear of beliefs that seem to differ from those of your culture, then know that you’re viewing Moroccan culture from the vantage point of an outsider— and you will miss a lot in doing so.
Try for once to remove your own cultural lense, and stop looking at things from the perspective of an outsider, who is more concerned with what is different, than what is beautiful. If you’re looking for enriching, authentic Moroccan experiences, then you should be willing to turn off your cultural “firewall” and open up to the beauty and magic of Moroccan culture.
The best way to do this is through physical and emotional mimesis. If you take part in a Moroccan cultural practice, for instance, try not to focus on the fact that you’re an outsider trying something new, but rather on the fact that you’re taking part in something that the Moroccan people value considerably. This principle applies to any new culture.
If you desire to experience the authentic, your desire has to be authentic as well.
Edited by Jessica Rohan