As Morocco is primarily a Muslim country, the majority of its residents do not celebrate Christmas. Still, bits and pieces of the holiday can be found, thanks to French influence and a good-sized expat community. This year, expat and Peace Corps bloggers share how they celebrated the holiday.
Emily & Jon in Morocco is the blog of two Peace Corps volunteers who celebrated Eid Al Kabir and Christmas this year. They shared photographs from the first holiday, and stories of the second. For Christmas, they shared the American tradition of stockings with their Moroccan host family:
Step two; stockings.
so late last night we told our family about “papa noel” and the tradition of hanging up our sock over the window (no fireplaces here folks). Jon and I demonstrated by draping our socks over the curtain rod. Unfortunately our family didn't follow, until after we turned in for the night. Around midnight we gathered the socks and tried to figure out whose was whose….which we where wrong. we got our bothers’ sock mixed up with our Moms’ and the two girls where mixed up as well…oops. but besides that, the stockings where a big hit.
The blogger behind From Warp to Weft, who also runs Kantara Crafts (an entrepreneurial fair-trade initiative between Morocco and the US), congratulates a group that helped raise money for the initiative:
December has been quite the month of holidays:
Eid al'Adha- Muslim Festival of Sacrifice. Dec. 8 (more to come!)
Solstice- Equinox Celebration of Changing Seasons. Dec. 21
Hannukah- Jewish Festival of Lights . Dec. 22-29
Christmas- Christian Celebration of the Birth of Jesus. Dec. 25
Kwanza'a- African Heritage Celebration. Dec. 26-Jan. 1
All religion aside, however, there is another reason to celebrate. Thanks to the generous donations of shoppers at Oberlin's Alternative Gift Fair, Kantara Crafts raised approximately $120 to reinvest in local education projects in Morocco.
Maryam of My Marrakesh shares her tales of the first Christmas spent in a new place: her family's newly built guest house:
And so it was Christmas. Their very first at Peacock Pavilions. And while this was a milestone, her happiness was tempered by all that surrounded her. By the unpacked boxes, the bare cement floors, and the unlandscaped garden. By the chill of life in winter without heating.
By all that remained undone.
But her dream of Peacock Pavilions remained. In the heat of the Marrakech mid-day sun, it still seemed attainable. It still seemed within reach. It still seemed just around the corner, or at least the corner after that.
And so if this Christmas was not the way she had hoped, there was always the next Christmas. Her children would not yet be grown and Santa would still be real for those who believed.
And believing was half the battle.
Merry Christmas and love from Marrakech.
And Morocco Time shares this hilarious video, from an episode of the American television show “The Office,” entitled “Moroccan Christmas”: