How Ramadan Affects Moroccan social life Ramadan,
Morocco Tours during Ramadan: A holy month for Muslims around the world also leaves a significant imprint on social life in Morocco. During this period, practicing Moroccan Muslims engage in a voluntary daily fast from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations.
Morocco Tours during Ramadan
In any case, while daytime fasting is the focus of Ramadan, this religious observance goes beyond the simple act of abstaining from food and drink. It is a time of introspection and recollection, where spiritual purification, generosity and solidarity with those most in need are involved.
During this month, the practice of charity is encouraged and one seeks to draw closer to God through prayer and the reading of the Koran. But by focusing on fasting, this religious practice, deeply rooted among the population, inevitably influences multiple aspects of daily life in the country.
A distinctive peculiarity of Morocco during Ramadan is the one-hour delay in the country’s clocks, known as “Ramadan time.” It is the only time of the year when Morocco changes its time.
The weekend before the start of Ramadan the country’s clocks are set back one hour until the end of the holy month. Then, the weekend after the end of Ramadan, they are set forward again.
This measure is implemented to adjust work schedules and daily activities to the fasting of believers, with the aim of maximizing the time available for prayer, reflection and rest, and then moving on to enjoy the hours of darkness, when Moroccans tend to share food and be in the company of family and friends.
Alterations in working hours
The impact of Ramadan on social life in Morocco is visible in multiple facets. Work schedules are often modified to accommodate the needs of fasting employees. And many companies and public administrations, especially in large cities such as Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Marrakech or Tetouan, reduce their working hours and adopt a special schedule during this holy month.
The change in working hours mainly affects public administrations and institutions, which adopt a working schedule from 9 am to 3 pm, from Monday to Friday. This allows public employees and civil servants sufficient time to rest, perform their prayers, and fulfill their religious obligations.
Morocco Tours during Ramadan
Although there are those who think that these adaptations in the schedule may affect productivity and efficiency to some extent, they are considered necessary to respect traditions and make it easier for practicing Moroccans to perform their fasting properly, in addition to preserving their health, as it allows more hours of rest in a month in which the body makes an extra effort with fasting.
Impact on social life In Morocco, Ramadan is lived with great devotion and a clear focus on spirituality. When dusk arrives, families gather to break the fast, sharing a special evening meal known as iftar, which takes place just after maghrib or sunset.
This moment becomes a joyful celebration, intimate in nature, where traditional Moroccan recipes are enjoyed, such as couscous, tajines, pastries, and typical sweets such as chebakia and briwats. In fact, it is common to see Moroccans carrying these typical dishes through the streets at sunset as they go to share them with their loved ones. Food takes on a deeper meaning during Ramadan, as Muslims not only give thanks for the food they are about to eat but also share their food with relatives and people from more vulnerable groups, in an act of generosity towards those most in need.
Morocco Tours during Ramadan
The quietness of the streets during the day contrasts with the hustle and bustle at sunset. The mosques are filled with the faithful during the nights of Ramadan. Collective prayer, especially night prayer, known as tarawih, plays a central role in community life.
This voluntary prayer, which is only performed in the month of Ramadan, is done in a communal manner after the last isha prayer, reciting verses from the Qur’an. If there is no mosque nearby, or if the person is disabled and cannot travel, it can also be done alone at home or with the family.
For the tarawih, the mosques are decorated with beautiful lights and give off a unique spiritual atmosphere. The shared religious experience with the community serves not only to pray and recite the Qur’an but also to seek a greater connection with God and strengthen community ties in a festive atmosphere of harmony and peace with oneself and others.
Leisure during the fasting season
Ramadan in Morocco also has an impact on other specific aspects of social life. During the day, non-believers are expected to avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public as a sign of respect for those who are fasting. This consequently affects daily life. Cafes and restaurants are usually closed or have restricted hours. However, at sunset, after prayer, they come alive, offering a wide variety of dining options to celebrate Iftar.
As far as nighttime entertainment is concerned, nightclubs and bars often have restricted hours or may even close during Ramadan, as it should not be forgotten that the consumption of alcohol in public is also prohibited during the day.
Morocco Tours during Ramadan
On the other hand, business hours in Morocco may also be affected. There are stores and businesses that adapt their opening hours, opening earlier and closing later to cater to the local population who prefer to shop after the night prayer. The souks and night markets, however, come alive at sunset, offering a wide variety of products and foods specific to Ramadan. These places become meeting points for families and friends, who enjoy shopping and traditional food in a festive atmosphere, sharing the joy of having concluded yet another day of Ramadan.
Myths and Realities of Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan has given rise, especially in the West, to a number of myths about this sacred celebration. One of the beliefs is that fasting during Ramadan helps to detoxify the body. A purification of the organism would allow the elimination of toxins from overeating, in the style of intermittent fasting.
Although there are nutritionists who defend this theory, alluding to the health benefits it brings, such as the regulation of blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity, other health professionals point out that the human body is already equipped with organs, such as the liver and kidneys, which are naturally responsible for detoxifying the body, stressing that performing physiological detoxification has no solid scientific basis.
Another myth surrounding Ramadan is the claim that everyone who fasts loses weight. While it is true that some people may lose weight slightly during Ramadan due to fasting, this is not true for the entire population.
Morocco Tours during Ramadan
Weight loss will depend on several factors, such as intake during the permitted periods, the type of food consumed, and the level of physical activity during the holy month. Some people compensate for fasting by consuming foods high in calories and sugars during the night, which helps to offset any potential weight loss.
A third myth is that physical exercise is forbidden in Ramadan, but the truth is that many people continue to perform their sports routine during the holy month, although they tend to adjust their schedules and intensity to avoid dehydration and exhaustion. Therefore, it is common to perform workouts after breaking the fast, at sunset, or before sunrise, when food and liquid intake is allowed.
Morocco Tours during Ramadan
Finally, there is another myth that Ramadan is harmful to children, the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers, or people with medical conditions. While it is true that adults do not eat during daylight hours in Ramadan, all vulnerable populations are exempt from fasting. In many cases, these people choose to participate in Ramadan through other means, such as prayer and charity to others. In this way, they manage to stay spiritually connected during this holy month without the need to fast.
Ramadan in Morocco is a time of spirituality, social gathering, and solidarity. Throughout this holy month, Moroccans immerse themselves in the practice of fasting, prayers, and spiritual reflection. The voluntary fasting during the day is broken with the iftar when family and friends gather around the table and the streets are filled with hustle and bustle. Ramadan in Morocco is experienced as a celebration of faith that inevitably interferes in the social sphere, but also enriches it, strengthening the bonds that unite the community.
You can also see Second-hand clothes in Morocco.
Second-hand clothing has become an increasingly valued option in Morocco. Following in the footsteps of other European countries, young people have discovered that wearing previously used clothes that you find in the souk can be very interesting to highlight your personality through the way you dress.
The reason for this interest in the second-hand clothing market in Morocco can be found not only in the trend towards sustainability that is beginning to take hold in the population but also in other circumstances, such as advice from Moroccan content creators, the tradition of shopping in the souks and the difficulty of accessing luxury brands at European and American prices.
One of the reasons why the secondhand clothing trend is on the rise is to be found in content creators. Influencers are presenting this option to young people, who willingly follow their advice. An example of this can be found in designer Rim Ajakkaf, with nearly 120,000 followers on Instagram and 400,000 on Tik Tok.
During the confinement, the influencer decided to make public that those clothes she called “vintage” were actually from “l’bal”, a dialectal term that refers to the purchase of second-hand clothes, not always well regarded in Moroccan society, as it is associated with the same prejudices that used clothes in Europe had until recently.
Ajakkaf began to show, from his apartment in Casablanca, outfits made from previously used clothes, shoes and brand name handbags found in flea markets, sometimes priced at no more than 40 euro cents.
Although at first there was some debate among her followers, clearly divided between staunch detractors and those who applauded the gesture, the designer began to notice that more and more people were interested in the places they could visit to find clothes like the ones she was showing. Since then, Rim Ajakkaf has become a standard-bearer for second-hand garments, pushing thousands of young people to the souks to shape their personalities when it comes to dressing in second-hand garments.
“You might spend all day looking for garments to your taste and find little, but sometimes you get some that are really worth it, like leather jackets at only 10 dirhams. Dior and Gucci bags are very reasonably priced. It’s like therapy,” Ajakkaf points out.
The designer has acknowledged that, since she was a child, she has collected original garments found in the flea markets of the Moroccan cities she visits. Now, she combines them with the brands she collaborates with, arguing that second-hand clothing is, in reality, like haute couture: it marks your own style and no one else wears it.
Fashion in Morocco
The textile industry is a key sector for the Moroccan economy, accounting for 5% of all national industrial production. Moreover, the fashion sector is in full growth, not only because of the penetration of the Internet, but also because of the cultural transformation undergone by the country, considered a benchmark for design in the Maghreb. In 2020, this sector had a turnover close to 1 billion euros, with exports growing by 17% between 2016 and 2019, exceeding 2 billion euros.
On the other side of the balance are imported fashion products, which are mainly suits, T-shirts and knitted sweaters. Spain is the leading exporting country, with a figure exceeding 17 million euros.
As for the reasons why the second-hand clothing market is on the rise in Morocco, they are also to be found in the figures for fashion consumption, which in this country is around 60 euros per inhabitant per year, while in Spain it exceeds 600 euros on average per year. Despite this, the weight of fashion consumption in Morocco and Spain are proportional to the salary earned in each of them, touching 2.5%.
There is, however, a clear difference between Morocco and Spain in terms of fashion consumption. Seventy-one percent of Moroccan consumers prefer local products and brands, which are more suited to their tastes, traditions and income level. This is the reason why many young people, who had turned their eyes to brands from Europe, difficult to obtain for a middle-class public, have the opportunity to continue to dress in a modern way without having to spend more than their salary allows.
It should also be noted that price is the main purchasing factor for the Moroccan consumer. This is the reason why, in general, they do not mind if the garments have less quality or design if they have a lower price.
80% of Moroccans regularly go to souks to shop. It is a perfect opportunity to find local clothing, as well as affordable second-hand European and North American brands, taking into account that in the stores they become high-end garments due to the purchasing power of the Moroccan population.
The rise of sustainable fashion
In Morocco, as is happening in other countries, slow fashion or sustainable fashion is gaining momentum, especially among young people. This trend, unlike fast fashion, promotes transparency in production processes. In this way, the consumer knows who manufactures the garment, where and under what conditions, giving priority to non-polluting and biodegradable materials.
Even the Moroccan government has listened to the demand of the population, promoting brands that are committed to ethics and sustainability through the label “Fibre Citoyenne”, which certifies that the garment has been produced in decent working conditions and under the paradigm of lower environmental impact. The first concept stores are springing up in cities such as Marrakech and Essaouira.
Slow fashion has the disadvantage of its high prices, which makes it impossible for a large part of young people, despite their interest in sustainability, to buy these garments. Option B for all of them, much more economical, is to use second-hand clothing and thus give it a way out that does not involve its destruction. This option is part of the low-cost fashion trend, aimed at consumers with a lower purchasing profile, who are the ones who look for garments they like in the souk among large piles of clothes.
On the other hand, between the souk and the large boutiques, there are intermediate options in the form of chains offering local brands, such as Marwa, which has an unstoppable projection in Morocco as it is positioned in the mid-price segment and presents modern designs adapted to the tastes of Muslim women. Forty percent of its production is made in factories in Casablanca and Meknès.
It should not be forgotten either that one of the causes of the return of young people to the souks is the drop in average household disposable income levels following the pandemic, although the country is already in the process of recovery. This loss of purchasing power has led young people to look favorably at the possibility of creating looks with second-hand clothes proposed by influencers, prompting what experts already consider to be the beginning of a change in consumer behavior.
To increase the chances of finding what they are looking for, it is necessary to visit the souks of the major towns, such as Marrakech, Rabat, Tangier, Casablanca, or Fez. These five cities account for 75% of consumption in Morocco.
Challenges of the second-hand market
Young Moroccans have decided to take the reins when it comes to deciding how to buy the clothes they wear, and tastes are evolving. This is the reason why online clothes shopping is also booming, as a result of the massive implementation of the smartphone in the population, which stands at around 71%, and the increase in the population using the Internet, which has seen an increase of 23% from 2016 to 2021.
Moroccan consumers find online shopping simple and convenient. The profile of consumer who uses this way to find their clothes belongs mainly to the so-called millennials, with an age range between 25 and 34 years. They are followed by the so-called Generation X, with people between 35 and 44 years old, and Generation Z, with young people between 18 and 24 years old.
As for the demand for garments by gender, in Morocco, it is very equitable, as opposed to what happens in Spain, where the profile of the main clothing buyer is female. It should be taken into account that Moroccan women earn 17% less than men, and this, together with the annual increase in fashion prices of around 4%, with no signs of decreasing until 2025 as a result of the rise in the price of raw materials, is a determining factor in the fact that they cannot buy as much fashion as they would like to. This is yet another reason to imitate the influencers who look for second-hand clothes to complete their closet.
Morocco Tours during Ramadan
And the fact is that social media activity is increasing all the time. Content creators have more and more influence among the population, promoting and spreading brands or consumer habits, such as the second-hand market, which becomes a trendsetter for the end consumer.
Removing mountains of clothes to find items of so-called “affordable luxury” is becoming more and more common. So is locating clothes and accessories in good condition, without too much quality, but with great personality, and defining your personal style through a clothing fashion made up of second-hand clothes.
Morocco follows in the wake of the international taste for used clothing, and has, if possible, more reasons to do so. It is the exclusivity of sustainability and the possibility of saving on fashion in a country where the average salary does not allow to reach the mid-range garments that come from Europe. But it doesn’t matter if you can use second-hand clothes and combine them with taste, as some of the country’s best-known influencers do. Morocco Tours during Ramadan