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Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East

Cultural Facts About Morocco
By:Maggie Gebremichael

Islamic culture is deeply woven into Moroccan life. Traces of Islamic influences can be found in the country's food, etiquette, art and holidays. At night, some cities may develop hot street food spots. Although Islam prohibits alcoholic drinking, nightlife, especially in larger cities such as Casablanca and Marrakesh, includes bars and clubs.

Morocco has fast food outlets such as the ubiquitous McDonald's chain, but you must get a better portrait of the culture by sampling local cuisine. Unexpected favorites may develop, such as a broth with snails or the Moroccan staple of Harira, a soup typically served rather sweet.

If you visit during the holy month of Ramadan, then you can get a different glimpse of Moroccan life. Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset. Tourist spots still cater to their guests, though most stores will alter their hours significantly in observance of the religious holiday.

Amazing souvenirs can be found throughout Morocco, from high-end artwork to great street vendor calligraphy and jewelry. Even if you can pay the asking price, embrace the culture and engage the seller by bargaining.

If you are invited to a person's home, bring a gift for the host instead of arriving empty-handed. Also, be mindful that Muslims pray five times a day every day.

Moroccans can recognize foreigners. While tourists often wear extremely casual clothes on vacation, less revealing clothes may help minimize unwanted attention. For example, women should expect stares if they wear shorts, even if the shorts would be considered 'conservative' in the United States.

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