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Morocco: The Ramadan Diaries

In Morocco, as in all of the “Muslim world”, Ramadan has begun, and with it, bloggers are writing about their experiences.  For anyone involved with Morocco, and whether they are fasting or not–be they a foreigner living in the country, a Moroccan abroad, or just someone lucky enough to be invited to lftour–Ramadan is a peaceful time of reflection and community.

The View From Fez, which offers a guide to Ramadan in Morocco for foreigners, wishes its readers a blessed Ramadan with this image:

The blog also shares the news that a number of mosques in the country will be closed shortly for repairs (last year a minaret collapsed, killing dozens), unfortunately coinciding with the holy month:

Now the research has been done and action will begin. It has been announced that the government will close 1,256 mosques found to be “unsafe”.

The ministry of religious affairs has said over 500 mosques would be completely demolished and rebuilt. In the interim makeshift tents would be provided for prayers.

The ministry said it has inspected over 19,000 of the country's nearly 48,000 mosques. A sum of $325 million has been set aside for improvement work, including demolition and rebuilding of 513 mosques.

Foreigners living in Morocco often find the experience of Ramadan daunting. For one Peace Corps blogger, who writes at From the Cold Land with the Hot Sun, the experience brings about a new appreciation for Muslims. The blogger writes:

I am only doing a sort of Ramadan Light; though I am not consuming food during the daylight hours, I am continuing to drink water within the confines of my house. To refrain from that would be a different beast entirely. To go without food for twelve hours or so can be uncomfortable, but going without water is genuine suffering, and a true test of endurance. Not that one would guess so by looking around. As with the two previous Ramadans I have experienced here, I am completely humbled by the badassed-ness of the Moroccans who continue to work as normal, often under the scorching summer sun, and especially the women who spend their days surrounded by the sights and scents of the evening meals as they assume the day-long task of preparing them.

Sarah Alaoui of Musings Diffused shares a photograph of her own harira, the traditional lentil soup eaten in Morocco to break the fast:

Homemade harira, courtesy of Sarah Alaoui

Of Ramadan, Alaoui writes:

It's that time of year again–when everything feels instantly peaceful and a sudden calming atmosphere envelopes everything…Ramadan.

I made Moroccan lentil soup last night for the first time–came out delicious and I'd call it a successful attempt despite the deep gash in my index finger from the can of chick peas. Also made Moroccan “harsha”, a slightly salty crumbly bread made from semolina flour. Delicious with some brie and raspberry jam.

For those who celebrate, I wish you a happy Ramadan. For the non-Muslims, I encourage you to attend an iftar at a Muslim's home–the iftar is the breaking of the fast at sundown. It's a wonderful experience :) I love cooking for my friends during this month.

For those without the opportunity to attend an iftar, Islamic Iftar offers up a Moroccan recipe:

Today we feature an iftar recipe from Morocco. It is a popular and easy to make home-made main dish in Morocco during Ramadan. Couscous is a staple grain from semolina wheat or pounded pearl millet.

Morocco is known for its delicious and mouthwatering couscous dishes and this recipe is one of Morocco’s favorite. Extremely tasty and ideal for a quick yet appetizing meal, this is only one of the approaches to making this Moroccan delight.

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