|The family is the centre of social life in Morocco.
A traditional Moroccan household consists of two parents, their unmarried
children, their married sons, and their sons wives and children. In the
city, however, households are usually smaller, because space is limited.
In traditional Arab society, the worlds of men
and women were kept separate. Men dominated the family and public life,
while women were restricted to the home and domestic work. Today, however,
many Moroccan women work outside the home and have fewer restrictions on
their lives. Women of Berber origin have always had greater freedom than
Arab women; they work in markets and take part in public social events.
|In the past, all marriages were arranged. Although
less common today, this tradition is still observed by some families. The
bride enters a marriage with a dowry from her family. The bridegroom and
his family are expected to give a large sum of money to the brides family.
This money will be spent on furniture and household necessities for the
newlyweds. Marriage ceremonies usually take place in summer and are colourful,
festive events. It is common practice for married women to keep their family
Did you know?
a couple divorces, all items received during the marriage go to the wife,
but the children usually stay with the father.
|The traditional Moroccan house is square with
a central courtyard surrounded by the rooms of the house. Today, the well-to-do
may live in a traditional house or in a modern city apartment. As more
and more Moroccans move into the cities to find work, bidonvilles
(shantytowns) have grown up on the outskirts of cities. Poor families live
in makeshift housing in these areas. Housing in rural areas varies according
to the climate and available building materials. Many people in the southern
part of the country live in houses of dried mud bricks, wood or stone.
In the south, a few tribes follow the traditional
nomadic way of life in the desert. Some settle at the oases or watered
areas dotting the barren land. Some pitch tents on the high dry plateaus,
where flocks of sheep and goats can graze.
|The Moroccan traditional dress is the jellaba.
This loose-fitting, hooded robe has long, full sleeves. Many women still
follow Islamic tradition and cover their faces with a veil. Men may wear
a cap, called a tarbouch (or a fez by Westerners) on formal
occasions. Men of Berber descent may wear goat-leather sandals and white
turbans, and carry elaborate carved daggers. At home and at social affairs,
women may wear long robes called kaftans. Although people throughout
Morocco wear traditional clothing, European-style clothing is becoming
Did you know?
is a very important celebration in Morocco. When young boys are circumcised,
they are dressed as kings and paraded around on a horse. Music is played,
and friends bring gifts to mark the occasion.