By Yahya Bouhafa
By Yahya Bouhafa
Fez- Moroccan society is known for the strength of its customs throughout the world.
These customs have manifested themselves in the form of different social celebrations time and time again yet the last decade has witnessed slight changes in the ways these purely Moroccan traditions are perceived and celebrated. Some old traditions have nearly faded, as in the case of celebrating weddings. Other traditions’ celebrations have been altered. The best example of this phenomenon is the Henna of the 27th of Ramadan.
This custom has long existed in the Moroccan culture. The idea behind the celebration of the 27th of Ramadan is to reward children for attempting to fast for the first the time. This celebration used to take place at home where parents reward their children with traditional clothing and Henna tattoos for girls, accompanied by dates, sweets and singing traditional songs. The purpose is to encourage children to engage in religious and social habits in a respectful and joyful event. Nowadays, the concept of this tradition has changed. It has become a more materialistic event that has become a financial burden on some families. It has also tarnished traditional norms dear to Moroccans with shameful practices.
Nowadays, this celebration is organized outside of the home causing many Moroccans to view the Henna of the 27th of Ramadan as a golden moneymaking opportunity. In fact, there is no longer a designated figure responsible for conducting the celebration; such figures have been replaced by anyone interested in making money including owners of traditional restaurants, shops, barbershops… etc.
Also, the method of celebrating this traditional event has changed such that many people are increasingly turning against the celebrations. The celebration has become more about dressing children with inappropriate amounts of makeup, and adorning them with Henna tattoos than a celebration of social and religious values. Further tarnishing the respectful elements of this pure Moroccan celebration is that various type of music, including songs containing certain lyrics inappropriate for children are played.
These changes create numerous problems. The disorganized manner of conducting these celebrations congests the streets since those watching or attending the celebrations disturb the normal routines of those who are not on the streets to celebrate. Also, loud noises and music from the celebrations deprive many Moroccans of peaceful prayers, a practice which is especially problematic since the great night of the 27th of Ramadan has a special space in the heart of all Muslims.
What is most shocking is that the organizers of this event try their utmost to make the celebrations of the 27th of Ramadan last longer and not just the night of the 27th in order to gain as much profit as possible. All this factors negatively affect the comfort of the citizens of Moroccan cities witnessing these celebrations. Worse, these disturbances and lack of respect are completely neglected by safety and organization officials.
Moroccan customs used to be an opportunity to encourage all generations to celebrate values such as love, sharing, and most of all respect. However, nowadays some customs are taking purely materialistic turns. These practises stray from the Moroccan culture that embraces all that is positive and rejects all that can tarnish respect, love, and care for others.
Edited by Sahar Kian
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