Xmas in Morocco
I can say that there are two kinds of people, concerning Christmas.
There are those who love it and can’t wait to hop into a Christmas jumper, and those who don’t even want to hear the word “merry”.
I have been on both sides and switched between moods more than once. But I still cherish the memory of my first Christmas in Morocco like it was yesterday. We were at a friend’s house, in a flat on the 5th floor behind the Majorelle Garden. A 24th of December glazing to the most amazing view.
Allow me to describe it for you: the luscious greenery of the gardens. The warm hues of the medina sprinkled by some palms that looked like festive decorations. The snowy Atlas Mountains in the back. The sky changing colour from the morning until night. A memory I can only compare to what I felt by looking to the velvet night sky in the desert. Such a neat image in December’s crisp air, so different from what I was used to in the European countries where I lived and travelled. Simply gorgeous, such as the images we see on our screens.
How is Christmas in Morocco perceived?
I will leave memory lane now, to talk about a Moroccan holiday during Christmas time and how Morocco perceives this festive time of the year.
Moroccans are still not sure if celebrating Christmas will make them good or bad Muslims.
The common denominator is that for those who “celebrate it” there is a chance to be misjudged by those who don’t. To be pointed out as “westernised” and “immoral” is to betray one’s own faith in Allah, for a Christian holiday. I believe that Moroccans have, from quite a long time, extended their arms to other cultures, especially the most modern and open-minded families who have Christian friends.
It is not uncommon to see Christmas trees in some houses, shopping centres and (foreign) supermarkets. People usually wish a “Merry Christmas” with pleasure and reciprocate the wishes if someone does. Moroccans LOVE to celebrate. In fact, most Moroccan holidays or event celebrations never last less than 3 days. Why not make it an excuse just to be more cheerful and happy?
New Year’s Eve in Morocco
I noticed that because the time of Christmas is close to the end of the year, it creates some confusion for many…It is not uncommon to hear “Merry Christmas” on New Year’s Eve, due to the fact of this weeklong celebration.
We think that the most desirable destinations are – for uniqueness – in the South of the country.
Temperatures are ideal. It is this surreal passage from snowy mountains to arid dune-scapes that makes it worth giving up on shiny lights, fireworks, and big parties for a week or so. Just remember to bring good thermal clothes because the desert at night is definitely getting cold.
If this is not what you’re looking for, bigger cities with large communities of expats are definitely what you want: restaurants, hotels, and riads organise hearty dinners and parties where you can get them all: traditional Moroccan food and entertainment, in a frame of Christmas decorations.
There is actually a tendency in the new quarter of any Moroccan big city – which is almost always divided between a medina and a new city originally planned during the French protectorate – to decorate palm trees with Christmas lights, resulting in these adorable Christmas palms! You will find celebrations of New Year’s Eve in every club of Marrakech and Casablanca too if you are a party lover.
You are also able to find a church leading Christmas masses in these cities if you feel the need to attend one.
Morocco’s Mountain Destinations
Hold on. We don’t forget anyone here! We still have three great suggestions for the mountain and ski enthusiasts.
If you don’t already know them, the villages and ski stations of Oukaimeden, Imlil, and Ifrane (lovingly called “the Switzerland” of Morocco) are 3 popular Moroccan mountain resorts. When you are travelling with children, trying to achieve a Christmas in Morocco, with these choices, you can satisfy them too!
These destinations will confuse anyone who doesn’t have a fair knowledge of Morocco. Who would associate Morocco and ski stations? Certainly not me when I first moved here…sorry for my ignorance!
I mean…you can actually have it all. Enjoy a snowy Christmas. Dream in a surreal escape in the winter desert. Party during a big end-of-the-year celebration…how great is that?
While you decide your next trip, we want to take the chance to send you our best wishes of happiness, love and joy for the upcoming holidays!
Christmas in Morocco was written by Burcin Yetim