Everyone knows that most Islamic countries are pretty conservative. This isn't to say they're behind the times or anything like that! On the contrary, the United Arab Emirates is one of those countries that are at the forefront of technology. But despite all that, they remaining traditional and strongly founded on their values. The same goes for Morocco too. Even though this North African tourist destination welcomes travelers from all around the world, it remains a conservative and traditional country nonetheless. And they're quite particular with their social customs too! Here are some you ought to remember when you go here!
Always Dress Modestly
Although Morocco is a hot country, you'll still need to dress modestly. It's simply the way it is and there's no going around that! Although Moroccans themselves have modernized and slightly strayed away from the Islamic dress code, when you're out and about in the country, you're better off dressing modestly. Especially during important holidays
. For women, this means getting covered from your wrists to your ankles. Long skirts and maxi dresses will suffice. At all costs, you have to cover both your shoulders and legs. As for men, you should cover yourselves from your shoulders to below the knee. T-shirts are widely considered as underwear in Morocco as well.
Moroccans Commonly Eat With Their Hands
When it comes to eating, expect many Moroccans to eat with their hands, most especially the Muslims. And since utensils aren't all that common here, they will expect you to do the same. Above all else, always eat with your right hand. They consider the left hand exclusively for using the toilet, hence making it have a dirty connotation at the dinner table. Don't worry, most Moroccan cuisine can be eaten with your hands, even with just your right hand. So unless utensils are laid down in front of you, use your right hand to eat at a Moroccon dinner table.
Only Take What's Served In Front Of You
More often than not, Moroccans lay out all of their food on the table. It's up to you to get your fill. With that said, it's customary here to only eat food that's served right in front of you. Moroccans consider it rude if you reach for food that's far from you, especially if you have to block other people from eating their fill. The only time you're 'allowed' to reach for food is when your host serves you meat from his/her side of the table. but other than that, just stay in your corner. Don't worry, Moroccans know to always lay out food in front of everyone.
Taking Shoes Off Before Entering Homes
Similarly in Asian countries like Singapore
, it's customary to remove your shoes inside other people's houses in Morocco. However, the main difference is that this custom varies from home to home. For some, they prefer you take off your shoes before you enter the house. While for others, they'll only require you to remove your shoes in carpeted areas within the home. Upon greeting your host/ess, follow his/her lead. More often than not, he/she will inform you where to remove your shoes. Many would also provide slippers, socks, and for you to wear inside their homes.
Leave Tips for Service Staff
Though it may not seem like it, leaving a tip is a common social custom in Morocco. Be it in a humble café or an upscale restaurant, you must tip your service staff after you're done with your meal. And the amount differs depending on what kind of establishment it is. When you're in a café, for instance, MAD 1.00 per person is enough. In mid-range places, increase that to MAD 5.00 to MAD 10.00 per person. And in upscale restaurants and the like, your tip has to be around 10% to 15% of your total bill. Also, for porters in hotels, it's customary to give them at least MAD 5.00 as a tip.
Non-Muslims Are Not Allowed in Mosques
Now, this may surprise you but in Morocco, non-Muslims are not allowed to go inside Mosques. Even though they're some of the most beautiful structures in the country, only knows who follow the Islamic faith are allowed to enter However, there are a handful of mosques throughout Morocco that are open for tourists and non-Muslim visitors. There's the Great Mosque at Smara, Western Sahara, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, and the famous Tin Mal temple in the High Atlas. Despite this, a lot of mosques actually don't mind when non-Muslims peek into their sanctuaries when their doors are open. But you still have to remain respectful in doing so!
Here in Morocco, where old traditions still reign supreme, following social customs is an absolute must! From how you dress to how you eat with and in front of others, they will help you blend in with the locals more and understand the culture better!