If you were lucky enough to grow up in Morocco, it will be something you are forever grateful for, and although you might not like some things about the country, you will always remember where you are from and your traditions. Here are 12 truths about growing up in Morocco.
The most delicious snack for a Moroccan kid is the famous cake merendina, accompanied with a glass of raïbi jamila, a pink drink that is made with milk, but has a thicker consistency. The combination is so popular that, just recently, the company that makes the cake created a raïbi-flavoured merendina.
This is just something you can’t miss in Morocco. You grow up drinking fresh mint tea, loving it and wanting more, and it is something that stays with you until you grow old, as people of all ages in Morocco love mint tea.
Come Friday, you don’t even have to ask what’s for lunch, as it’s couscous with the whole family, whether you like it or not. Couscous is a traditional dish that you will find being served in all Moroccan households at least once a week, traditionally on Fridays. The typical dish is made of couscous made of semolina, a variety of vegetables and meat, and is served warm.
Not just any cartoons, but your favourite cartoons, which would be Martin Matin, Winx Club, Totally Spies and Oggy and the Cockroaches. These would get you so excited that you’d wake up at 6am to watch them.
Yes, everyone gossips, especially the old ladies who are always looking out of the windows, housekeepers and guards. Whether you like it or not, everyone knows what you’re up to, and your mum is always worried what the neighbours will say.
Unfortunately, this is completely normal in Morocco; people cross anywhere on the road, either because the zebra crossing is too far away, or just because they ignore it. Just recently, a new law came in, charging anyone who doesn’t cross properly £2.
When we say eating from one plate, we mean that the whole family eats from one big plate and everyone gets their hands in it. It’s called teghmass, and you grab a piece of bread to get some sauce, meat and potatoes from the tagine. Everyone does the same and it’s considered absolutely normal.
No, because that living room needs to stay intact for guests, so you just contemplate it from afar, and dream of one day sitting there. Your mum would clean it regularly although it already looked spotless.
There is something truly magical about eating those donuts and crisps on a hot sunny day, after you’ve swum with your siblings at the beach and started building sandcastles. Still covered in sand, you hear a man yelling ‘Bini chou!’ – beignet chaud in French and hot donuts in English – and your eyes light up and you ask for a peach jam donut and a bunch of crisps, and they taste the absolute best.
Not only do you learn from a tender age to haggle, but you start haggling everywhere, wherever you go, whenever you go. This can be both a good and a bad thing, as we have sometimes seen people bargaining in Zara… but it’s certainly a Morocco thing.
You’re with your friends, driving to the beach to spend a chilled weekend, no stress and no worries, when a cop pulls you over. And the reason he pulls you over isn’t because you were driving over the limit, but because you’re a bunch of youngsters. You think long and hard about what to do, and even think about giving him some money, but in the end it’s settled by calling your dad and pretending that you know some important people.
You might have just woken up, and you’re going out in your pyjamas, but Moroccan men will always find an opportunity to catcall, because for them, that’s the way the world works. You even find that you end up getting used to it and ignoring it instead of getting angry.