“Awasher Mubaraka” (happy first 10 days of Ramadan) is a greeting usually said by the people of Morocco during the first days of Ramadan or at the beginning of any religious occasion.
By these words, the Moroccans congratulate each other on the beginning of Ramadan. The Moroccans receive the month of “obedience” with cannons shooting and women’s ululation (high-pitched tongue trill). At the beginning of the holy month, the Moroccan women prepare delicious sweets, and families flock to the main streets of Moroccan cities where celebrations start after the Tarawih prayers and continue until dawn.
They decorate streets and houses to look their best. Moroccans are keen to perform prayers in mosques, especially Tarawih, as mosques always become crowded with worshippers during the holy month. Mosques prepare schedules of activities that last from dawn until late at night. They organise sermons after the Zuhr (noon) prayer, while the time following the Asr (late afternoon) prayer is devoted to Quran recitation in large groups.
There is a famous habit in Morocco before Ramadan, as they choose the imams who will lead the prayers in major mosques in the country during the holy month. Hassan II Mosque, located in Casablanca, is the largest mosque in Morocco and the second largest in Africa. People from all regions flock to Hassan II Mosque to perform Tarawih prayers. Omar Al-Kazabri, a famous imam, usually leads the prayers at Hassan II Mosque. He was ranked among the 50 most influential Moroccan figures.
There is a common tradition in Morocco called the “Ramadan Hassaniyah sermons”. It was initiated by the late King of Morocco Hassan II. It is a series of sermons delivered before the king by the most important religious men and preachers in the world. Sitting King Mohammed VI continues to follow the same tradition of Hassaniyah sermons, which are currently held at the Royal Palace or at Hassan II Mosque.
In Morocco, the month of Ramadan allows an opportunity for families to meet and exchange social visits. Married members of the same families meet at the family home, or what they call the “Big House” on Fridays in Ramadan. There is another beautiful tradition in Ramadan, when parents celebrate the first fasting for their children. They prepare a special iftar (fast-breaking meal), consisting of delicious Moroccan dishes, besides milk, dates, and dry fruits.
Moroccans celebrate the 15th night of Ramadan by reciting Quran in mosques and women prepare couscous dishes or desserts to distribute among the poor and worshippers in mosques.
Another Ramadan custom in Morocco is the celebration of Laylat Al-Qadr (Night of Power) which is usually observed by the Moroccans on the 26th night of the holy month. On that occasion, the Moroccans wear traditional costumes and organise horse parades.
Moroccan cuisine is one of the most famous in the world. They start their iftar meal by eating dates and drinking milk. After the Maghrib (sunset) prayer, they eat harira, a traditional soup always served as a starter during Ramadan. The main dishes are served after Taraweh prayer, such as tajine and couscous. Morocco is known for its dates, especially “medjool” dates, which are very expensive.