Experience the rich history and culture of the northern African country of Morocco by learning about the food, history, religion and customs of this exotic country.
Welcome to Morocco
Fun facts about Morocco will have you enjoying a little bit of northern Africa with a Moroccan touch. Throw some richly covered pillows in a reading corner, make some mosaics and listen to an African story to set the mood on fact finding about Morocco's rich and varied culture.
Morocco is located in northern Africa with coastlines on both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It has an area comparable to the area of the state of California. Like California's geography, Morocco is also made up of varied landforms. The coast lines contain coastal plains which has rich soil and the most rainfall. This is where most of the agriculture products of Morocco are grown. The interior of the country contains three mountain ranges which run parallel to the coastlines. The mountain ranges are the High Atlas, the Middle Atlas and the Anti-Atlas. The Sahara Desert is in southern Morocco, which hosts harsh conditions for both plant life and human settlements. Most of the people in the country live in urban areas, including Fez, Marrakech and Casablanca.
Morocco owes its rich culture to its diverse history. Rule of Morocco has been contested and varied since the beginning of modern time. The Berber people are native to the country. The Arabs, Romans, Spaniards and French have all sought out rule over this strategic piece of land. The Strait of Gibraltar is a thin waterway separating the two continents of Europe and Africa, which made Morocco important to both continents. France ultimately had control over the country. It granted Morocco its own kingdom in 1956.
Religion is a very important part of Moroccan life. Most people in Morocco practice Islam. This religion promotes praying five times a day and fasting for a month prior to Ramadan, a religious holiday. The population worships at one of the many beautiful mosques in Morocco. The mosques of this country are considered to be some of the most beautiful houses of worship in the world. The king of Morocco is not only the political leader; he is also the spiritual leader of the country, according to Ohio University's Center for International Studies. There are a few Christians and even fewer Jews located in the country.
Meals eaten with family and extended family are an important part of daily life. Moroccan meals are served on comfy cushions around a low table. Sweet mint tea is served elegantly with all meals. The tea is poured from a teapot high above the teacup. Oranges, almonds and couscous, a wheat dish, are popular food items. Spices are an important part of meal preparation. Giving Moroccan meals their unique taste are spices like turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, saffron, sesame and ginger. Chicken is the most popular meat to be served with the meal. Pastries with an almond paste center are a popular dessert. Put all of this together, and Moroccan food is rated some of the best in the world.
The arts practiced in Morocco are recognizable and identifiable by the bold geometric patterns and rich colors. The colors and patterns are seen in handmade carpets, ceramics, mosaics and fabric. These traditions have been practiced for centuries with the artisans maintaining them in their work.
Another art prevalent in the Moroccan culture is storytelling. Many of the ideals of the society are retold through stories that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Music and dance were influenced by the many countries that claimed rule over Morocco. The flute and drums are part of the folk music heard all around the country.
Experiencing a bit of Morocco with can be easy and engaging because of the diversity of the culture. Share a cup of mint tea and a couscous dish with friends all sitting on cushions. Read a story about Anasi the spider to learn about the culture's norms. Explore mosaic art by making a picture out of brightly colored paper bits. Understand how the location of the country benefited and altered the history of Morocco.
The diversity of the influences in this country can lead to many revelations and understandings of this richly defined country in northern Africa, Morocco.
Photo Bucket, Morocco Tiles Image by Kerry Scanlon, http://i530.photobucket.com/albums/dd345/kerry_scanlon/Morocco/IMG_2257.jpg
Ohio University; Center for International Studies, Morocco: A Country Profile, Lynn Walroth, September 2007; http://www.internationalstudies.ohio.edu/activities-outreach/files/Morocco.pdf
University of Pennsylvania, Morocco: Menus & Recipes from Africa, http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Cookbook/Morocco.html
Asia Rooms, Ars and Crafts in Morocco, http://www.asiarooms.com/en/travel-guide/morocco/culture-of-morocco/arts-and-crafts-in-morocco.html
Wiki Commons, Moroccan Mint Tea, Dan Nicholas, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moroccan_mint_tea-01.jpg