Moroccan Family Values . The family is the most significant unit of Moroccan life and plays an important role in all social relations. . The individual is always subordinate to the family or group. . Nepotism is viewed positively, since it indicates patronage of one’s family. . The family consists of both the nuclear and the extended family. . The elderly are revered and respected and often exert a great influence on the rest of the family. Gift Giving Etiquette . If you are invited to a Moroccan’s home bring sweet pastries, nuts, figs, dates or flowers to the hostess. A small gift for the children is seen as a token of affection. . Do not bring alcohol unless you know that your host drinks. . Gifts are not opened when received. Dining Etiquette If you are invited to a Moroccan’s house: . You should remove your shoes. . Dress smartly. Doing so demonstrates respect towards your hosts. . Check to see if your spouse is included in the invitation. Conservative Moroccans may not entertain mixed-sex groups. . Shake everyone’s hand individually. Greetings| | Man greeting Man – Men shake hands when greeting one another and usually kiss once on each cheek.
Handshakes tend to be on the loose side. Woman greeting Woman- Women usually greet each other with kisses on the cheek. This can range from one to five (alternating cheeks) depending on the situation and relationship. Man greeting Woman- A simple handshake or hand grasp while simultaneously kissing both cheeks is common. It is best to allow the woman to extend her hand or offer her cheek first. If the hand is not extended, than a slight bow or nod is the polite thing for men to do. Note: It is taboo for religiously observant men to touch women and vice-versa. | | Gender Issues| | In general, the world of men consists of the whole outside world, while that of women consists of the world inside the home. Cafes are in the male domain and are an intersection between private life and the public life found in the street. * Women are expected to cook and clean and raise the children. In big cities they enjoy much more freedom in dress, behavior and activities; however, it is still not common to find a woman out alone or in sidewalk cafes. * It is unacceptable for a woman to be in bar that serves alcohol, otherwise she is likely to be seen as a prostitute.
Because Islam forbids alcohol, most bars have a seedy and unwholesome atmosphere. * As a general rule of thumb, foreigners can get away with drinking and cafe sitting, however, be sure to carefully select the bar or cafe. * Men will often try to pick-up girls along the street. Do not react in any way or they will not leave you alone. In Morocco, it must be the boy who makes the advances, otherwise the girl is seen as easy. The girls is expected to be so lovely and magnetic that the boy comes to her without any prompting. | | |
Views Of Time| | * Punctuality is not usually a virtue in Morocco, although some things do function on a strict time table, such as public schools. * Time works differently in Morocco; as long as one does not expect punctuality to be high the list of enviable qualities for a Moroccan and can learn to go with the flow of things, traveling is lots less stressful. * Trains are more or less on time while buses usually have no posted times nor routes, so it is necessary to ask the bus driver or local riders where and when the bus comes. When inviting people over, never expect them to arrive on time. It’s best for example to invite people over at 9pm for dinner, fully expecting people to arrive after 10pm. | | Introductions, Greetings and Public Behaviour Moroccans are very hospitable and friendly people. When introductions are made, it is quite customary to ask about your counterpart’s family or friends. The most common way to greet a person in Morocco is to either offer a handshake to a person of the same gender.
You may find that the handshake in Morocco is gentler than in ‘Western’ countries – it is not proper etiquette to firmly grip and enthusiastically shake another person’s hand. Men and women greet in a slightly different way. The woman should always offer her hand first to initiate a handshake. Women who wear a full veil will often refrain from any physical contact, so in these instances it is customary for the man to simply give a slight bow and allow the woman to retain some personal space.
If you have become well acquainted with your Moroccan counterparts, the proper greeting etiquette is to initiate a handshake whilst simultaneously kissing both cheeks, kissing the left cheek first. This should only be done with a person of the same gender. In public, you should be aware that it is considered good manners for men and women to leave space in between one another. Handholding is only usually seen as a platonic gesture between the same sexes. Public displays of affection are not really tolerated, and certainly homosexuality is still relatively taboo in Morocco.
In some instances, it is considered quite uncouth for a woman to be seen alone at a bar or cafe, especially if she is young and unmarried. Although this is not the case with many ‘Western’ women, if female and planning to venture out to such a place, it is best to attempt to go out in a group or be accompanied by a man. Social Events and Dining Etiquette You may find that during your stay in Morocco, you will be invited into the family home for a meal. It is always customary for a Moroccan to offer food whenever you visit, and it would be seen as quite rude to refuse this offer.
Likewise, if you are offered a present when invited into the home, you should always graciously accept. You do not have to open your gift in front of your host – equally you shouldn’t expect your host to open your present either. Gifts should be relatively small – sweets, pastries or flowers are all popular gifts. Bringing a small gift for any children in the home would also be well received. In more conservative households, men and women will dine separately, so if planning on bringing a spouse or partner, you should always find out beforehand if this is the case.
In Morocco, it is proper etiquette to dress conservatively, removing your shoes and cleaning your hands before each meal. Because eating is often done with your right hand (although bread can be taken with the left), a small basin will usually be provided before the meal. You will be expected to hold your hands out whilst a jug full of water, often scented, is poured over them. Dry your hands and wait for your host to invite you to begin eating. This ritual is also performed at the end of the meal.
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