I heard many things about Morocco, good and bad. I’ve heard that the food and the culture are unlike any other place in the world. However, I’ve personally never heard that they were know for their hospitality! Anne Banks takes an enlightening trip to Morocco and gets automatically taken under the wing of their driver, Ahmed. He invites them to meet his brother and eventually his whole family. She had looked online to see if she can find some tips on etiquette but was unsuccessful. Read how she learns to be a gracious guest in beautiful Morocco!
Morocco Manners: Etiquette Tips in a Land of Hospitality
By Ann Banks Visiting Ahmed and his family in Chefchouen, Morocco
“Wander around a Moroccan city or village for a while and chances are you’ll be invited into somebody’s home. For us, the moment came just after our arrival in Chefchaouen, an impossibly picturesque town in Morocco’s north.
By coincidence, we ran into Ahmed, who was to be our driver starting the next day and was the only person we knew in town. He was with his brother Abdi, a local fireman. After we joined the two men for a coffee, Abdi invited us to visit his family’s apartment.
Before leaving for Morocco, I’d browsed a few websites professing expertise on local customs, hoping to learn a few basic rules of polite behavior so we would not be entirely unprepared for this kind of encounter.
But the websites’ advice was so contradictory as to be useless. Said one: You should never bring food to someone’s house, as that could be taken as an insult. Another suggested that pastries and items made with sugar are always welcome, or, even better, a live chicken. And: Don’t bring tea, as it is easily obtained there. On the other hand: Tea is always an appropriate gift.
One website advised visitors to use only the right hand in public (lefties like myself should practice ahead of time by duct taping their left hand to their side), and to avoid sensitive subjects of conversation (the royal family, the role of women) in favor of such topics as sports and history.But the websites’ advice was so contradictory as to be useless. Said one: You should never bring food to someone’s house, as that could be taken as an insult. Another suggested that pastries and items made with sugar are always welcome, or, even better, a live chicken. And: Don’t bring tea, as it is easily obtained there. On the other hand: Tea is always an appropriate gift.
The website Protocol Professionals also offered a helpful hint on how to recognize when your attire was insufficiently modest: “If you receive lewd stares or children pelt your posterior with small pebbles, you’ll know you are too revealing.”
The dress code was one thing I was confident we had gotten right: nothing sleeveless; nothing tight.
Yet in other respects we were unprepared for Moroccan etiquette as we climbed the stone steps to Abdi’s apartment, located in a small building in one of Chefchaouen’s back streets…”
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