Morocco Fashion Culture

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Morocco is a very old country with thousands of year-old history.

Morocco is a rich country in terms of history, traditions, people, culture, religion, climate, geography and so forth. Every one of these aspects of the country influences how Moroccan people are dressed. Among the variety of clothes in Morocco, we find the djellaba and kaftan, two fine garments that speak of the luxurious clothing style of the country.

Clothing is a major characteristic of the Moroccan culture. It’s a dominant figure that pulls sights and interests to Morocco. Throughout history, Moroccan traditional clothing has helped to determine the character of each region of the kingdom. In fact, all Moroccan regions have evolved various ways of creating a traditional style of cloth to show their lifestyle.

Mention Morocco, and many people’s thoughts immediately turn to Casablanca: Its crowded streets and markets, the palm trees swaying in the breeze, Sam sitting at the keyboard in Rick’s Café. Those images come from the classic 1942 movie of the same name, of course, and aren’t necessarily reflective of Casablanca, or Morocco, today. In fact, while people have long been fascinated by this compact country sitting atop north-western Africa, most don’t know much about its history or traditions.

Thousands of years ago, the land now known as Morocco was occupied by the Berbers, an indigenous people spread across northern Africa. Although various groups of people passed through the land over time, such as the Carthaginians and Romans, no one stayed too long until the Muslims arrived during the Arab invasion in the 7th century. From that point on, the land became home to both Arabs and Berbers, who frequently battled for control.

The Moroccan state was established by the Idrisid dynasty. More recently, the region was colonized by the French, who brought their language to its shores. Finally, in 1956, it became the independent country of Morocco.

So who, exactly, are the Moroccans today?

Well, 99 percent are Sunni Muslims, whether they’re of Berber or Arab descent. But religion aside, Moroccans are considered a warm, welcoming people who go out of their way to be generous to others. “Feed your guests, even if you are starving,” is a famous Moroccan proverb, for example, and it’s not unusual to be invited to someone’s home for a meal. (And if you are, it’s likely to be unforgettable, as Moroccan food is deemed top-notch.)

While visitors don’t forget the people of Morocco, they’re also typically wowed by its towns. Moroccan cities are distinguished by their thriving souks, or open-air markets, and their architecture and design, which feature geometric patterns, Islamic calligraphy and bold colors. The country’s most famous cities, furthermore, are known the world over: Casablanca, of course, but also Rabat, the capital; Fez, one of Islam’s holiest cities; and Marrakech, home to Morocco’s largest souk. But movie references and shopping aren’t the only draws of this coastal country. Some people come simply to sample the local flavour.

 

Moroccan Food

An exceptional melding of flavours from the Arabic, French, Spanish and Jewish cultures that left their mark on the country, Moroccan cuisine is rich in color, spice and texture. Not only is it tasty fare (a given), but it’s beautifully presented and created to have alluring scents. Interestingly, the best food is said to be found in people’s homes, not restaurants; Moroccans serve guests bountiful meals, as it’s considered a disgrace if you let your guests leave a meal while they’re still hungry.

Lunch is the main meal and, like most, is served on low tables surrounded by cushions. You eat Moroccan food from a communal bowl with the first three fingers of your right hand (not the left, which is reserved for the toilet!). You may also scoop up the food with any bread that is served. While there are innumerable Moroccan dishes, of course, three of the most typical meals are couscous, tagine and harira. Couscous is a grain often cooked with spices, veggies, nuts and raisins; meat may also be added. It can be eaten as a side dish or main meal. Tagine is a spicy stew cooked in an earthenware vessel also called a tagine, from which the stew gets its name. Harira is considered Morocco’s national soup, although it’s more like a thick paste. Like couscous and tagine, it has many variations, but traditionally consists of bouillon, beef or mutton, onions, saffron and walnuts.

As Morocco is bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, fish is a popular entrée. Lamb and chicken are also widely available; beef is rare. Some common spices used are cumin, coriander, saffron, chilies, dried ginger, cinnamon and paprika. Nuts are prevalent in Moroccans’ diets, as is fruit, which is often served as dessert. Figs and dates are especially popular. When confections are on the menu, they’re often treats made from almonds, cinnamon and fruits rolled in phyllo dough, then soaked in honey.

Moroccans always serve mint tea at the end of meals. But don’t look for any alcohol, as imbibing is against the rules of Islam. Speaking of which, as Muslims, Moroccans must fast from dawn until dusk during the 30 days of Ramadan, so restaurants are closed during the day. Most families prepare harira to eat as soon as the sun goes down, followed by a larger meal later in the evening. Religion influences other aspects of Moroccan culture as well, particularly when it comes to what people wear.

 

Moroccan Architecture and Décor

Morocco has been influenced by many cultures throughout its history, resulting in architecture and décor that’s cosmopolitan, yet a bit mysterious, dramatic, yet welcoming. Architecturally, you’ll see lots of imposing arches and domes, thanks to Islamic influences, plus the use of courtyards and expansive gardens. Cities typically feature a medina, which is a walled section within which are houses and shops. And, of course, there are plenty of mosques.

Moroccan homes are interesting because they’re often deceptive, featuring plain exteriors but ornately decorative interiors. This practice may be a way for Moroccans to separate the public from the private — to reserve the intimacy of their homes for family and friends. Most Moroccan homes have an interior courtyard (the front door often opens into this courtyard), while rooms sport arches, vaults and doorways covered with gauzy drapes. A blind, or indented, arch will be found somewhere within the home, a nod to the mihrabs, or semi-circular niches, that are set in mosques to show the direction in which Mecca lies, and thus the direction Muslims should face when praying.

The furniture Moroccans prefer is usually low, made of wood and accented with plush pillows. Lanterns are a popular lighting source and decorative accessory; most are handcrafted, not mass-produced, and can be finished with brilliant dyes and henna paintings. Moroccans also incorporate a lot of geometric patterns and intricate designs in their décor, paired with earth and desert tones, such as muted yellows and reds. Decorative ceramic tile, or zellige, is also quite popular, and can be found on pretty much any surface: floors, ceilings, walls, roofs and furniture. A popular Moroccan decorative technique dating back centuries is tedelakt, which involves using a colored limestone and black soap paste to create smooth, waxed surfaces on walls or floors.

Finally, fragrances are considered part of every Moroccan home’s décor; most homes will combine floral scents with spices. These exotic aromas might not instantly transport you to Rick’s Café in “Casablanca,” but they’re welcoming and quintessentially Moroccan, just the same.

 

Traditional Dances of Morocco

 Music and dance are an integral part of Moroccan life. During a trip to Morocco, you may witness processions of dancing villagers parading through the streets, or you might be kept awake late at night by the sound of rhythmic drums and the piercing ululations of wedding celebrations. While music and dance in Morocco can usually be categorized as indigenous Berber or classical Arab, you will also see and hear African, European and Jewish influences in these traditional art forms. Whatever the origins, dancing in Morocco has a long, storied heritage.

 

Ghiaytas

Ghiaytas were dances traditionally performed in preparation for war by the Berber tribes in the Atlas Mountains. This dance is a show of courage for young men going off to battle. The choreography includes war-like moves such as pretend shooting. During much of the dance, rifles are held on the men’s heads. Accompanied by only a simple reed flute, the men shout rhythmically and stomp their feet.  Today, ghiaytas is kept alive as a cultural tradition. The male dancers generally end the routine by simultaneously shooting blanks from their rifles at the ground.

 

Ouais

Described as a mixture of English ballet and classical Arabic music, the ouais is a graceful, fluid dance performed by women. The dancers wear copper cymbals on their fingers and are dressed in elaborately embroidered kaftans with silk belts. Most often performed at weddings, the ouais dance is accompanied by a one-stringed fiddle, two or three small mandolins and the simple rhythm of one musician pounding on a large piece of cast iron.

 Ahidou

A dance of the Middle Atlas Berbers, the ahidou is performed by both men and women. All dancers stand in a circle, and their songs are lyrical and poetic. In addition to their matching blue cloaks with white stripes, the women are adorned with jewellery made of yellow amber beads and skill fully engraved silver. The men wear sleeveless, hooded gowns known as burnooses and have turbans tied on their heads. Some troupe members play tambourine while others sway and clap to the music.

 

Houara

The Houara dance of Inezgane is also a mixed gender folk dance, but the performance troupe includes several men and only one woman. All dancers form a tightly packed circle and take turns coming in to the middle to show off intricately choreographed routines. One man may come in to the circle alone, or two men may come in to the circle together. As the tempo speeds up, the woman rushes into the centre of the circle to end the dance. The houara has traditionally been used as a spiritual folk dance by Berber tribes.

Morocco is home to dozens of other types of dances including shikat (Arabic belly dance), guedra (a Tuareg dance for women), awash (a High Atlas tribal dance) and gnaoua (a highly acrobatic dance with sub-Saharan roots).

 

Taskiwin

The Taskiwin is recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage, one of nine present in Morocco. The Taskiwin is a martial dance. It is very specific to the western High Atlas mountain range. The name of the dance comes from the intricately decorated horn each dancer carries with them while dancing — the Tiskt. Accompanied by the rhythm of flutes and tambourines, the dancers shake their shoulders.

 

Historically, this practice of this dance was a key means of socialization for young men and women. It was an important part of a larger social tapestry. It remains a dance that is transmitted through the generations by informal, direct practice and learning.

These days, the dance is only performed in a very small number of mountain towns and villages. It is at severe risk of disappearing entirely. Young people from these regions, largely due to the promises of globalization, have begun to shun their traditions in favour of more modern practices. Just over the past decade, where one used to find this dance, it has ceased to exists. In the few remaining communities where it remains, dancers are having difficulty finding people in the younger generations to pass their knowledge. In relation, the craftsmanship in relation to making the flutes and tambourines to make the music for this dance is also disappearing.

 

Clothing in Morocco

 

Moroccan clothing is full of rich traditions and many of the clothes worn by locals are an integral part of the culture and Moroccan identity. While numerous Moroccans, especially those from the younger generations, opt to wear modern Western garments for day-to-day life, special occasions and ceremonial events typically see a return to traditions.

 

Traditional Moroccan clothes are often not only attractive, but the long, loose, and flowing garments are both compliant with religious beliefs and practical for keeping cool in the hot and sunny conditions. Clothing for women and men in Morocco consists of long robes with hoods and traditional slippers. These magnificent dresses have been worn since the ancient times of Moroccan history, and are being still used today.

Modest dress is the norm here, as Morocco is an Islamic country. But it’s a progressive Islamic country, so there’s a certain amount of latitude in what people wear as well, though dress is definitely more conservative in rural areas than it is in the cities. Traditional women’s dress generally consists of a djellaba (a long, loose robe), a button-down blouse called a kaftan and a headscarf. Modern women may don more form-fitting, shorter djellabas, and/or pair them with jeans, and some don’t wear headscarves. Footwear is a babouche, or leather slipper without a heel. Women’s babouches come in a wide variety of colors and decorations.

High-heeled sandals are another popular choice.

Interestingly, while Western wear was increasingly popular in the 1980s and 1990s, and more and more Moroccan women were foregoing headscarves, today Moroccan women are embracing the headscarf as a way to symbolize their pride in being Muslim, much as Muslims in other Islamic countries are doing. But this doesn’t mean they’re becoming more conservative overall in their dress. The headscarves are viewed as a fun, decorative accessory, and come in many pretty colors and patterns. Furthermore, young women in particular often pair their headscarves with Western attire such as tight jeans, sexy tops and designer shades.

Men have more latitude in their dress. It doesn’t matter much whether they wear Western attire or traditional Moroccan garb. Jeans, vs. a traditional djallaba, which is worn by both sexes instead, it’s the quality of their clothing that takes priority. Generally speaking, of course, Moroccan men are image-conscious to a fault, and take a lot of time primping before they go out. Their clothes must always be clean, neatly pressed and the best quality they can afford. Wealthier men, in fact, often have their clothing hand-tailored from fine fabrics. But not from silk, which is considered too effeminate for men.

Moroccan men generally wear polished shoes or babouches, depending on whether they’re wearing Western clothing or traditional Moroccan outfits, but they rarely wear sandals, and always have neatly trimmed hair. Beards today are associated with fundamentalist Muslims, so most Moroccan men usually don’t have them, although moustaches and goatees are fine. The kaftans and felt caps called fezzes that were once standard attire for males are today worn mostly by older men.

 

Moroccan Tarboosh

The ‘tarboosh’ or ‘tarbouch’ is a red hat made by local artisans of the city of Fes (Fez) in Morocco, it is also known in the United State as the symbol of the fraternity of Shriners International since 1872, it is known outside Morocco as ‘the fez’.

It is a rigid hat with a tassel and it rather resembles the lower part of a cone. It is worn by some men in Morocco, and is also part of some official uniforms; you may see it being worn by the Royal Guard on ceremonial duties.

A Fashion History Of The Kaftan as Morocco’s Traditional Dress:

The Kaftan (caftan), which is worn throughout the world, has a long held a coveted fashion as well as cultural status. However, in Morocco it enjoys a special significance. The dress is worn exclusively by women, both as an everyday outfit and haute-couture attire —depending on the material. Although the Ottoman Empire has never set foot in Morocco, Moroccan designers adopted this Ottoman dress, and put their artificial touches on it. It is still present in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia as well. Moroccan kaftans are often representative of the diverse cultural identities and cultural heritage influences.

The first mention of the kaftan in Morocco appeared in the 16th century, although the kaftan had been worn across the Middle East and Persia long before this time. It was during the reign of the Abbas sides that the garment made its way to Andalusia in the ninth century, the Western Islamic region that was eventually ruled by the Moroccan Berber Almohad dynasty. Following the Spanish Inquisition, resulting in the forced conversion to Christianity or expulsion of Muslims and Jews from Andalusia, many residents fled to nearby Morocco, bringing their traditional attire with them. Historically, however, it was the ceremonial dress of judges.

The materials required–silk thread and fine fabrics—were produced to create the rich textiles. This timeless piece is can be made up of several layers known as a ‘takshita’. Adorned with elaborate and delicate details on a variety of fabrics makes the kaftan so versatile in dress and appealing to all. It’s also even evolved as a staple piece for all women around the globe as a cover up. It is also made from wool and cotton, but the fanciest kaftans are made from fine silk or luscious velvet.

Moroccan kaftans may have long or short sleeves, which may be fitted or loose. Many of the elements required are produced in the medinas even today. It is not uncommon to see men preparing the colorful threads, women selling the buttons they have prepared at home and required for finishing touches to the haberdashery shopkeepers, and belt-makers’ workshops where the embroidered colorful accessories are prepared to complete the look.

While cotton kaftans abound throughout the medina in colorful cottons with accenting stitching and piping, these are best suited to the house or on hot summer days. The kaftan, though, is not to be confused with the djellabaa traditional dress worn by both men and women in Morocco. While the kaftan and djellaba are very similar, the difference between the two is that the latter does not have a hood. Nor should the kaftan be confused with the belted two-piece takchita, truly elegant attire. The defining features of a kaftan are its long sleeves, often worn with heels given the length of the cut.

More elegant kaftan styles are reserved for special occasions and wedding celebrations, and are worn with great pride by all classes of society. In fact, true fashionistas head to their couturier for a hand-made dress that is often beaded and decorated with embroidery and using the finest fabrics that represent the woman’s individual style. There are many celebrities whom wear these kaftan dresses on the red carpet and at large affairs.

Once a year around the world fashion shows; showcasing takshita’s and caftan designs from very popular Mosamima’s in countries such as Holland, Belgium, France and United States. And ever so popular magazines such as Femme Du Maghreb and Nisaa El Maghrib promoting Moroccan fashion and ‘haute couture’ caftan designs.

 

Djellaba

The djellaba found in Morocco as well as in other North African countries, but it is still one of the most commonly worn items of clothing by Moroccans. It can be worn by both men and women. The djellaba is a long and loose type of robe that is often worn over the top of other clothes. Most women’s Djellabahs are brightly colored and have ornate patterns, stitching, or beading, while men’s Djellabah are usually plainer and colored neutrally.  It is the most popular traditional robe in the countries of Maghreb. It is commonly worn with a belgha, a traditional sleeper made of out leather.

It has long sleeves and a pointed hood. Qob is a baggy hood that helps to provide shade in the sun and keeps people warm in the cold. In the past, when there were larger numbers of desert-dwelling and nomadic peoples, it prevented sand from being blown in a person’s face too. During times of warm weather, this Qob is turned into a pocket where loaves and bread can be put.

Woolen djellabas are the most traditional, made of coarse wool that is obtained from sheep living in the near mountains. Now-a-days cotton djellabas are becoming increasingly popular. Naturally, woolen garments are favoured in the cooler winter months, while light-weight cotton djellabas are preferable on hot, sunny days. Colours vary and the garment can be won in many different settings, from day-to-day activities to at special occasions.

 

Gandora

Gandoura is a Berber traditional dress, also popular in Algeria. The gandora is similar to a djellaba, with the major differences being that it has shorter sleeves, side pockets and does not have a hood and made out of woven thread. It can be worn by people of both sexes and comes in various colors.

It is more commonly worn in the summer months, though typically not for prolonged periods outdoors—the shorter sleeves leave people more at risk of getting burnt by the harsh sun. Moroccans like it for its comfort and it is very popular and well known in Morocco and Algeria as well.

Tackchita

 

Another Moroccan item of clothing worn by women is Tackchita. Takchita is a Moroccan traditional dress that is composed of two parts, the first layer is called Takchita and the second one is called Dfina. It is perhaps the most formal and beautiful ladies’ garment. It is not an item for everyday wear, but is reserved for special occasions such as weddings. As with fancy kaftans, the tackchita often has stunning designs and details.

A two-piece item of clothing, it has an under-dress and an over-dress.The over-dress is generally a lot more patterned and detailed than the under section, and a wide belt is worn over the two pieces to make it more fitted around the waist. Usually fitted around the top and cinched in at the waist, the tackchita then flows to the ground in a majestic manner. The top later may button up the front completely, or may be buttoned only to the waist, allowing the lower part of the under-dress to show through. You can view the latest interpretations of traditional Moroccan clothing particularly the Takchita at the annual Caftan fashion show in Morocco.

Haik :

Women in Morocco also wear up what is called the Haik which is a traditional white costume that is made of silk and wool. The Haik covers the whole body except face and hands and it is mainly used in cold and conservative areas in   Morocco. This is a winter costume. This large piece of garment is a symbol of modesty and discretion.

Abaya

 

The abaya is a standard item in almost every Moroccan woman’s wardrobe. An over layer, it is worn on top of other clothes to hide the lady’s figures when she’s out and about in public. A long and loose item that is rather similar to a cloak, it covers the entire body save for the head, feet, and hands.

Not all Moroccan women choose to wear the abaya on a day-to-day basis, although there are many women who do prefer to cover up in this way when outside of the home.

 

Tahruyt

A tahruyt is a large embroidered scarf-cum-headdress that is often worn by Berber ladies, especially those that live in more remote mountain areas. It is comprised of two pieces of cloth, usually dark in colour, that have been stitched together and adorned with colourful and intricately embroidered details.

It is thought that the practice of embroidery is related to the past traditions of facial tattooing in Berber groups; the individual patterns are believed to take the symbolic place of the facial markings.
The large piece of cloth covers the head and is long enough to drape over the shoulders and upper body, with one corner crossed and tucked in at the shoulder. Some women have tassels on the scarf too, which frame the face.

Taqiyah

Bright and colorful market of patterned Arabic Taqiyah.

 

Another type of male headwear, the taqiyah is similar to the Jewish kippah, a short and rounded skullcap. It is a symbol of religious devotion for Muslims. Most commonly white, the taqiyah can, however, be found in an array of colours.

Hijab

 

The hijab is a type of head covering that is often worn by Muslim ladies. A fitted headscarf, it can come in a variety of colours; many ladies like to wear a hijab that matches their abaya or other clothing. Not all Moroccan women choose to wear the hijab.

Niqab and Burka

 

While the niqab and burka are both sometimes worn by females in Morocco, particularly those from the older generations, their use isn’t so common nowadays. The niqab is a type of head and face covering that usually leaves the eyes visible, whereas the burka conceals the whole head, face, and body.

The most concealing item of Islamic dress for females, and one that is generally worn in more conservative Islamic nations, it was reported in early 2017 that the Moroccan government had banned the import, sale, marketing, and manufacture of the burka.

Balgha

Also known as the babouche, the balgha is a traditional type of shoe in Morocco. Soft and slipper like, the leather footwear can be worn both inside and outdoors. (It’s still normal, though, to take shoes off when walking on carpets in a home.) Balgha are made in various colours and range from the rather plain to those that are ornately decorated. Traditionally made in Fez, the slippers are found in souks all across the nation. While sturdier shoes are often preferred today for everyday activities, the balgha is often worn for special events and during religious celebrations.

 

Qandrissi trousers:

Another traditional costume in Morocco is the Qandrissi trousers. Millions of people around the world have watched Aladdin movie and, furthermore, have been aspired by his panties. Qandrissi trousers is also known as Aladdin trousers or harem pants, these comfortable voluminously baggy pants, with crotch down to the knee and deep pockets. Qandrissi is originally a Persian costume. However, Moroccan people wear it and love it as well. These pants are comfortable practical and baggy pants that allows men to sit more comfortably on the floor. Moroccan men used to wear them largely. These pants attract tourists for they come in different sizes and colors. As mentioned above, Morocco consists of several societies which justify the diversity concerning clothing and dresses. In the Sahara, for example, which locates south to Morocco, men put on the Deraa which is a loose Gandoura open on the side to keep the body ventilated.

Deraa :

Men Wear a loose gandoura open on the side called the Deraa. Thus, it keeps the body ventilated. The golden seams on the front are usually handmade.

Sahrawi men wear Qandrissi pants under their Deraa. Deraa comes in two colors mainly, blue for everyday life and white for weddings and private ceremonies.

 

Melhfa:

 

Women in the Sahara wear the Melhfa which is different from the Djellabah. Sahrawi women wear the Melhfa to protect themselves from the blowing sands caused by rough winds in the desert. Melhfa is a large fabric about 4 meters long and it wraps around the body to keep it protected from the heat, with bright colors usually worn in black and blue. Nowadays Melhfa is worn with more joyful colors. Despite the expansion of Western dress styles worldwide Moroccan new generation still use these patterns of dress. This is, actually, due to their practicality especially in rough climate situations in Sahara.

 

Henna

Henna skin designs have great significance in Morocco. Although visually appealing, the use of henna is often seen as having more than just an aesthetic value. Traditional Berber beliefs see henna designs as bringing good luck and helping to ward off ill fortunes. The khamsa hand symbol, diamonds, and eyes are common features in intricate henna tattoos, along with flowery patterns, swirls, and geometric forms. The henna party is an important part of wedding rituals, and it is also often applied by married women for celebrations and festivals.

It also played a traditional role in circumcision ceremonies. Henna may also be used by men to color their beards when grey starts to set in, and by both men and women to color their hair.

Traditional bridal dresses in Morocco

From North to south, from East to West, there are many customs to which the Moroccan bride performs. Indeed, she does not have only one outfit to wear. Originally, the Moroccan wedding was supposed to last seven days, and therefore the bride had to wear seven outfits. Seven days and seven outfits for seven Moroccan regions. Between colors, patterns, fabrics and jewellery, here are, in general, the outfits that the bride on her wedding day.

Several ceremonies, lots of outfit changes, and the most incredible Arabian nights theme, their destination wedding was a spectacular affair.

Rich hues, luxe golds and plush textures created the perfect backdrop to lap up the typical Moroccan experience, with traditional attire, regional fare, local customs and their very own wedding henna tattoos.

1 – The Green and Golden kaftan.

2 – The White “takchita” which means the purity of the future wife

3 – The “Fassiya” (of Fez), often of white, golden, green or red colors too.

4 – The “R’batia ” (flap) in red or blue.

5 – The “Sahraouia” (from the Moroccan Sahara)

6 – The “Soussia” (or Berber outfit), a very color full traditional outfit full of patterns and jewellery.

7 – The “Chamalia” (which comes from the North)

Nowadays, brides also wear a European-style white dress at the end of the ceremony simply to realize a little girl’s dream.

 

Ceremonies that pay homage to its rich cultural heritage and tradition, several outfit changes, relentless dancing and festivities, and a burst of colours, music, and local fare—Moroccan weddings are nothing short of a spectacular affair.

 

Rich hues, plush textures, and the distinct Moroccan lanterns make the perfect backdrop for the traditional Moroccan wedding experience.

What Happens in a Moroccan Wedding? 

First things first, when we talk about Moroccan weddings, we don’t really mean the wedding vows. In Morocco, marriage happens before the celebration. It’s a small ceremony called the Drib Sdak, wherein the groom and bride will sign a marriage contract in the presence of witnesses, typically their family members, and an Adoul, a Moroccan notary.

The festive and colourful three-day affair is actually the wedding celebration, which is similar to a reception in other cultures.

  • Hammam Day 

The first day marks the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the bride. Customs requires her to undergo a ritual of purification by visiting the Hammam, a traditional sauna, in preparation for married life. The visit lasts all day and the bride is accompanied by girlfriends and relatives.

  • Henna Party 

The next day is the henna party, wherein the bride gathers her female relatives and friends to have henna tattoos done on their hands and feet. Henna has long been used in Morocco to create intricate, symbolic temporary tattoos. They’re said to symbolise luck, beauty, and fertility.

  • Moroccan Wedding

The third day is the culmination of the pre-wedding festivities. On the day of the wedding, the party gathers at the venue and is followed by the groom with his family. Everyone waits for the bride to come, who will arrive in an amaria (an intricate roofed platform that’s carried by 4-6 men), and is usually accompanied with the Neggafates, the master planners.

During the Party: The bride takes off the amaria and sits beside the groom in an elevated couch, where guests could come to sit next to them and take pictures. It’s usual for the bride to change from her traditional white wedding dress into several outfits throughout the party. A two-part takshita is typically worn, which has a dress as a first layer and an over-dress that usually buttons up the front.

The couple shares the last dance, eat the cake, join the festivities and observe a few other traditions before leaving for the wedding night.

After the Party: The couple leaves the party on a car parade through the streets, stopping at a few spots to take pictures with friends and families joining the parade. They then head to the house of the groom, where the bride’s mother in law typically awaits to welcome the newlyweds with dates and milk.

There’s no standard way to celebrate a Moroccan wedding. While some are elaborate and filled with Moroccan wedding decorations in every corner, others can be quite simple and involve only a small gathering. But, regardless of how different Moroccan weddings are held, their common denominator is that marriage remains to be a significant part of the country’s culture and an opportunity for families to gather and celebrate.

Every Moroccan woman and girl are proud of her jewellery box and all the jewellery pieces her mother or grandmother passed down to her, as well as those she was gifted or she acquired throughout the years. There is a sentimental attachment because each jewellery piece has a history of its own.

 

Moroccan Jewellery is part of Moroccan identity. Here Moroccan silver jewellery on young Berber girl’s hair (vintage)

Moroccan Jewellery Emblematic Designs

 For the connoisseurs, it is possible to guess where a Moroccan woman is from just by looking at her jewellery adornment. This is possible because each region of Morocco has its own jewellery designs.

 

Moroccan woman from the Atlas Mountains wearing an Atlas necklace set | Vintage

Moroccan woman from Fez, wearing a Moroccan jewellery headband called Tabaa, Jean Besancenot, 1948

Moroccan bridal necklace set with lots of layers

There are dozens of Moroccan jewellery designs and variations and it can take pages and pages to go through all of them. The thing is, most Moroccan Antique jewellery pieces are expensive and hard to wear casually.

Moroccan traditional jewellery sets are a good example. Moroccan women are no longer wearing them unless on their wedding day, and even so, they only rent them for the occasion.

Gorgeous Traditional Berber Jewellery set mixing Berber earrings, Berber head jewellery, and multiple traditional Berber necklaces

  1. Moroccan Berber Necklaces

One of Morocco’s most emblematic jewellery pieces is the Berber necklaces. These necklaces are perfect for women who like stand-out pieces that add a lot of personality to their jewellery collection.

Moroccan Berber woman wearing Berber coral and amber necklaces (vintage)

Berber necklaces come in different sizes ranging from massive pieces to daintier ones. Authentic Berber necklaces are made with silver and genuine stones like amber, coral, and onyx. They can be quite pricey, costing up to thousands of dollars depending on the materials used and the weight of the necklace. The necklace below with Amber beads is an example of a heavy traditional Berber necklace, a staple on Berber engagement ceremonies, weddings, and baby showers.

Heavy Berber coral necklace

The necklace below is an example of a dainty Berber necklace, handmade in Morocco, and true to Berber ancestral jewellery designs.

Dainty silver Berber necklace

  1. Moroccan Silver Bracelets

Moroccan silver bracelets are very popular in Morocco. Usually, the more the better, they can be worn single or layered in sets to achieve a great thickness in the wrists. There are many designs to choose from and they can be either simple or heavily engraved. The most popular ones are made of 925 silver sterling but there are many designs made of gold. They are a little costly but, they will stay sparkling and beautiful for decades!

Moroccan woman from the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, wearing massive silver bracelets and multi-layers necklaces | Jean Besancenot, 1950

  1. Moroccan Hamsa Jewellery

Also called Khamsa, the Eye of Fatima or the Hand of Fatima, the Hamsa is a Moroccan-Jewish symbol representing a hand, believed to protect from evil and negative people. It is a classic in Moroccan jewellery.

 

Beautiful Moroccan Gold Hamsa necklace

You can find the Hamsa in almost every jewellery item in Morocco: Hamsa necklaces, Hamsa pendants, bracelets, earrings, etc. Hamsa hand jewellery is a real classic and most Moroccan women have at least a couple of pieces featuring this protecting symbol.

Moroccan Hamsa necklace.

Moroccan Hamsa anklet

 

Antique Moroccan jewellery is really expensive.

With the all this appeal, versatility in fabric, patterns and designs and with antique jewelleries Morocco is the country of high fashion.

 

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Article by Ms. Hetal Mistry

B.Sc. Textile and Apparel Designing Department from Sir Vithaldas Thackersey College of Home Science (Autonomous), SNDT Women’s University – Juhu

Trainee Intern : Textile Value Chain

Reference

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