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Morocco: Christmas in the Maghreb

Although Morocco is primarily a Muslim country and although it's only the second week of December, Christmas is apparently in the air – at least for Morocco's foreign resident bloggers.

Connie in Morocco, a Peace Corps blogger, is ambivalent about the Christmas season – torn between missing home and not missing the commercialism of American Christmas:

Being here has not changed the way I feel about the American Christmas season; I was beginning to get quite fed up with the commercialism and more reluctant to be sucked up in it. Being here has certainly made me even more aware of the reason for the season, as has become the cliche. I so miss family and friends, and music and all that, and the exchanging of a few thoughtful gifts, but I must admit it is a bit of a relief not to have all the advertising etc. “in my face.” That being said, it will be great, though, to be back home next year for the Christmas season.

Nicole of Moving to Morocco shares photos of her first Christmas in Morocco, complete with Christmas tree, remarking upon the surprising cost:

Moroccan Christmas tree

had wrote before that the store here was putting up X-mas decorations while we were there and Zouhair kept going back everyday to see if they had trees yet. Like 2 or 3 days later he came home from work and said they had them and we should go get one. We got to the store and I was really surprised at the amount of decorations and trees they had! We got the biggest tree (6′) and it was $12. I was thinking they would be expensive because there probably isnt a huge demand for it, but I was wrong, they were cheap!

Heather of Moroccan Meanderings remarks upon the lack of Christmas spirit surrounding her:

It is hard to believe it is almost Christmas. So few signs of it here, no Christmas trees in public, no decorated shops and decorations only available in the big supermarket here…

Having spent one Christmas of my own in Morocco, I can tell you that it is quite a different feeling to be so far away from the traditions I've grown accustomed to. That said, Moroccans are wonderfully accommodating and although the holiday isn't celebrated, there are plenty of Christmas trees around! Happy holidays!

6 comments

  • When I was kid, I remember that there were more presence of Christmas symboles until the end of 90s. There were men disguised as Santa Claus who were even in popular areas. In fact, working with photographers, their role was to be taken in pictures with people and especially kids. Since the appearance of islamism in Morocco in the second half of 90s, these people disappeared. Also, it’s noticeable that some backeries especially in downtown sells the famous French dessert “Bûche” or chocolate Yule Log. I agree that it’s not difficult to find Christmas trees mainly in flower shops in downtown and rich areas. I forgot that some shops especially western style ones make Christmas decorations and make a confusion with the celebration of the new year. Some people mix Christmas and New year celebrations. I also noticed that some preachers in mosques denounce this celebration because it’s not in Islam. In fact Moroccans don’t celebrate Christmas in the religious way but they confuse it in the end of the year.

    • Wadie

      But now i think most people seperate btwn xmas and new years eve , for me i like to celebrate christmas although i’m muslim !

  • Jill, this was an interesting article to read. It should be interesting to be in Morocco especially this year since Eid will be falling so close to the 25th of December.

  • […] wird, ist alles voller Weihnachtsbäume! Happy Holidays! Dieser Artikel erschien zuerst auf Global Voices. Die Übersetzung erfolgte durch Clemens Harten, Teil des “Project Lingua“. Die […]

  • It is really nice to experience somthing different. It is a kind of culturexchange. In MOrocco they celebrate every Eid and Every Holiday Every Holiday to make them happy and to enjoy life. This year it is unique because Christmas is falling with Eid. Most of the cities especially young, medium class and rich class celebrate Christmas and ofcourse we have not to forget that Morocco is a mixture of cultures; Arabs, Berbers, Muslims, Jewsh,Catholics, Hindou,French, Spanish, German, American,Belgian…It is Unique place. I know many friends fom Uk and France and Belgium who went just for holiday and they returned back every year to spend Christmas and the New year in the top mountains full of vergin snow ..ski-ing, or riding camels in the heart of the desert where there is no Christmas american marketing. Many of them bought their houses in Morocco because they feel really happy in this country which is full of contrasts.

  • […] In my last post, I shared the thoughts of foreigners on Christmas (or a lack thereof) in Morocco. This week, we’ll […]

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