People and Culture in Morocco

“Morocco is one of the most diverse countries in Africa, with high mountains, sweeping desert, rugged coastline, and the winding alleyways of ancient medina cities and souqs.”

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People and Culture in Morocco

Official name: Kingdom of Morocco
Population: 33.2 million
Capital City: Rabat
Languages: Arabic and Berber are the official languages of Morocco, while French is taught universally and serves as Morocco’s primary language of commerce. Spanish and English are also widely spoken (by about 21% and 14% of the population, respectively)
Geography: Morocco is slightly larger than the state of California and is located in northern Africa.

Culture in Morocco:

Check out the Rough Guide to Moroccan culture and etiquette for a brief introduction!

Non-verbal communication:

  • When greeting someone in Morocco, Moroccans shake hands then touch their heart.
  • Once a relationship has developed, it is common to kiss on both cheeks, starting with the left cheek while shaking hands, men with men and women with women.

Other customs to be familiar with:

Two foods that you will see throughout your trip to Morocco are couscous, made with seminola grains, and harira soup, a national dish that is composed of bouillon, beef or mutton, onions, saffron, and walnuts. Note that schools and businesses close at noon each day in order to enjoy a midday meal for 2-3 hours.

Upheld by Islamic law, Muslims don’t partake in the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

If you are invited to someone’s home, remember to take off your shoes when you enter their house.

Before a meal, a washing basin will be brought to the table before the meal is served. Hold your hands over the basin while water is poured over them. Dry your hands on the towel provided.

DO: Scoop the food with a piece of bread or the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand.  Eat with the right hand.

Phrases to know before you go:


  • As-salaam Alaykum   —– (literally) Peace be with you – interchangeable for “hello”
  • Walaykum As-salaam —- response
  • Sbah l’kheir  —– Good morning
  • Labas? —- How are you?
  • Labas…mama, baba, drari, rajl, mrt  —- how is your mom, dad, kids, husband, wife
  • Culshi mzien? —– Everyone is good?
  • Alhamdulilah —— Thank God
  • Culshi mzien. —– Everyone is good. (statement)
  • Inta?  —– and you? (to a man)
  • Intiya? —- and you? (to a woman)

Useful Expressions

  • Fimt? —- Do you understand? (to a male) If you understand you can answer “Fimt” in an affirmative tone.
  • Fimti? —- Do you understand? (to a female) If you understand you can answer “Fimti” in an affirmative tone.
  • Iyah —- Yes
  • La —- No
  • Waloo —- nothing (fimt/i waloo – I don’t understand anything)
  • Ma’arft – I don’t know/I’m not sure.
  • Afak —- Please.
  • Shukrun —- Thank you.
  • Aoudi Afak — Repeat please.
  • Meshi Mushkil — It’s not a problem.
  • Kayn Mushkil — It’s a problem.
  • Kayna…..? —– Do you have?
  • Atini…. —- I would like
  • Chwiya —- a little
  • Bezaf —- a lot
  • Smahli — Excuse me (to a man)
  • Smahaliya — Excuse me (to a woman)
  • Mashallah — When something is good or nice (like “your child is so cute mashallah”)
  • Bismillah — Blessing said before doing something
  • Arabe — Arabic
  • Ingles – English

Other Resources:

Useful Expressions