The beautiful country of Morocco has a very rich and varied culture. This is mostly thanks to the mix of other cultures such as the Arabs, Romans, Europeans and Jews that have influenced the area at one time or another throughout history. And since the population mostly considers the Arab ethnic groups, Moroccan traditional clothing tends to lean more towards this way of living, its food, and indeed, its clothing.
However, culture isn’t the only influence on what Moroccans traditionally wear. Geography and climate play a big role as well. You see, Morocco sits in the Sahara desert in the most northwestern part of Africa. This means that it is very dry inland, but really quite humid around the coast; additionally, Moroccan summers last about six months and are really hot. As you can imagine, this heavily influences Moroccan customs when it comes to clothing.
Well, for starters, the traditional clothing for both men and women is the Moroccan djellaba. This is a long loose Moroccan dress with a hood and long sleeves. Men’s djellabas are always plain in color. The djellabas for women are generally brightly colored and festooned with beads and other ornaments. When it comes to other Moroccan clothing accessories for men, they may also wear a red cap which is locally called a fez, especially on special occasions.
Another traditional form of dress worn by both men and women alike is the kaftan. It’s is pretty much a djellaba without the hood. Also like the djellaba, the kaftan worn by men is usually plain, from cotton. The women’s version is from cotton or silk and bedazzled with ornamental beads and the like. The kaftans worn by women are handmade, making them very delicate and, often, expensive; however, Moroccan women are very loyal to their traditional wear. They will buy at least one new kaftan a year to wear to special occasions or religious festivals.
Morocco is becoming a highly progressive country. Although though Western clothing is becoming more accepted by today’s Moroccan youth, Islamic culture still tends to be the dominant influence on what Moroccans, and especially Moroccan women, wear these days. As a result, you’ll find a trend of the mixing of both worlds where Moroccan kaftans have been reduced in length and have become as tight-fitting as today’s Western jeans, especially in the more urban areas such as Rabat and Marrakech, while other cities like Fez tend to be a bit more conservative in dress.
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