Christmas in Morocco – What You Need To Know

MVM Team
By MVM Team 1.4k Views 5 Min Read

Christmas in Morocco brings a special atmosphere of merriment and jubilation, with the vibrant energy of the holiday season filling the air. Despite being a predominantly Muslim nation with Islam as the official religion, Morocco has a rich history of religious and cultural diversity. Islam accepts Jesus as a great prophet of Allah, but not as the Son of God. Therefore, the festivities of Christmas are honoured with a special mix of practices, mirroring the intricate fabric of Moroccan society.

Morocco is known for its religious tolerance. Although the majority of the population is Muslim, Christmas is widely acknowledged and respected. In cities like Casablanca and Marrakech, you’ll find a mix of traditions that showcase the country’s commitment to coexistence. In other, more traditional cities, such as Fes and Meknes, the season is celebrated, but under the guise of “fin d’année” or “End of year avoiding a direct mention of Christmas. So you can purchase find’année trees and decorations in the supermarkets. 

In major cities and tourist areas, streets are adorned with Christmas decorations and lights, creating a festive atmosphere that captivates locals and visitors alike. The decorations often include Christmas trees, twinkling lights, and festive ornaments that line the streets and decorate public spaces. Christmas carols and festive music are played constantly in shopping centres and supermarkets. 

While Christmas markets may not be as ubiquitous as in some Western countries, you can still find markets in certain areas, especially in larger cities. These markets feature a variety of festive goods, including handicrafts, ornaments, and traditional Moroccan sweets. The markets are a perfect place to experience the fusion of Moroccan and Western Christmas traditions.

Traditional Moroccan Christmas Foods

Moroccan cuisine is known for its diverse and flavourful dishes and Christmas is no exception. While the traditional Christmas turkey may be less commonplace, Moroccans celebrate with special meals that showcase their culinary expertise.

Couscous, tagines, and pastries are often featured on Christmas tables, combining Moroccan flavours with festive spirit. It is quite possible to assemble much of a traditional British Christmas dinner complete with turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts and even cranberry sauce for American visitors. All that may be missing are the pork products, notably sausages and bacon, which are often unavailable and, when they are, of inferior quality.

But fear not!  Moroccan lamb or turkey sausages are a delicious substitute, and you can replace the bacon with a veal version or some of the sliced smoked meats that make perfectly adequate alternatives. Turnips, sweet potatoes and other seasonal vegetables are readily available, and many Moroccans have a sweet tooth, so you can find Christmas cakes and yule logs in the supermarkets.

All the Christmas spirits, wine and beer may be purchased at off-licences and Carrefour supermarkets, though the prices are sometimes a little higher than in the US or the UK. Just don’t get drunk in public! 

Celebrations in Christian Communities

In cities with significant Christian populations, such as Rabat and Casablanca, Christmas is celebrated with religious services, carol singing, and other traditional festivities. Moroccan Christians and foreign expatriates come together to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Churches can be found in the major cities, though they are usually quite ordinary-looking buildings and hidden away on side streets. 

Hospitality and Generosity

One of the most heartwarming aspects of Christmas in Morocco is the spirit of hospitality and generosity that permeates the celebrations. It is common for Muslim neighbours to exchange greetings and well-wishes with their Christian counterparts, reflecting the unity and goodwill that define Moroccan society.

Christmas in Morocco is an excellent example of cultural harmony and coexistence. The unique blend of traditions, decorations, and festivities highlights the diversity and tolerance that make Morocco a special place. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Marrakech or attending a Christmas service in Casablanca, the holiday season in Morocco is a magical time that brings people together, regardless of their religious or cultural backgrounds.

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