5 Moroccan Cultures That Showcase The Developing Melting Pot Of Africa

5 Moroccan Cultures That Showcase The Developing Melting Pot Of Africa

Diversity in Africa

There are 54 culturally diverse nation-states on the African continent, yet many Americans tend to perceive Africa as culturally and ethnically homogeneous. However, scientific research has demonstrated that there is more genetic diversity within Africa than between Eurasia and Africa itself. One prime example of the diversity of Africa can be found in the Northern country of Morocco, a nation that many consider the melting pot of the African continent. All of the cultures described below have rich histories that can be traced back to ancient times, and each are treasured, celebrated parts of a greater Moroccan culture. Here are six of those Moroccan cultures today.


Sanhaja Berber Women

Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Berber people, also known as the Amazigh (meaning proud raiders), were the first inhabitants of North Africa and are the indigenous people of Morocco. They fought against Roman, Arab and French invaders and have an long, rich history.

Today most Berber live in the South of Morocco, represent more than half of the Moroccan population and speak different yet similar languages depending on their location. These languages include Tarifit in the Rif of northern Morocco, Tamazight in the Middle Atlas region and Tashelheet from the High Atlas and Souss region.

The Berber people are known for their folkloric music, jewelry, tattoos and beautiful poetry.


Arab invaders conquered Morocco in the late seventh century and spread Islamic culture to the Berber natives. Despite the fact that most Arabs live in the northern regions of Morocco, Arab culture can be seen across the nation. Not only is Arabic the first language of Morocco and the ethnicity of the nation's leaders, but the religion of Islam, brought to Morocco by the Arabs, is followed by over 99 percent of Moroccans today.

The national dish of Morocco is couscous, which though mostly associated with Arab tradition is a common dish across the Maghreb. Classic Arab dress has become traditional Moroccan garb, consisting of caftans, djellabas and more.


Map French and Spanish presence in Morocco in 1912


During the 300 years of Roman occupation that ended late in the third century, Roman territory and influence extended to just north of Rabat, the present day capital of Morocco. The northern tip of Morocco known to the Romans as Mauretania Tingitana, present day Tangier, exported olive oil and wheat to Rome, and was the home to many Berber who had become Christian. However, today the population of Christians in Morocco is very small and anyone trying to convert Moroccans to Christianity can be punished by law.

Morocco, like every other African country, did not escape contemporary European colonization that began as early as the 15th century on the coasts of Africa and India. By the 19th century, Spain and France were the two major European powers that occupied Morocco and had the most recent impact on the nation's culture. The French protectorate controlled most of the country until 1956 when Morocco became independent, and soon thereafter regained most of the territory from Spain.

Although the country's first language is Arabic, about 85 percent of the population frequently uses Darija (the colloquial language) which has integrated French and Spanish words and phrases. Andalusian cultural influences can be seen in the ruins of 11th century mosques and architecture in the northern cities such as Fez, though the Spanish Protectorate controlled only about 1/10 of the country.


A Gnawa Festival


The Gnawa people are an ethnic group originally from the northern region of West and Central Africa known as the Sahelian region. With pre-Islamic African spiritual traditions, the Gnawa eventually adopted the Sufi order, a mystical spiritual version of Islam that focuses on peace and love and looking within. The famous 13th century Sunni Muslim Persian poet, popularly known as Rumi, Persian Sunni Muslim poet, as well as scholar of Islam and a jurist, founded the mystic Sufi order of Islam. The Gnawa people mix pre-Islamic African traditions with classical Islamic Sufism.

Gnawa music has attracted leading musicians from around the world, including Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin lead singer, for example.

The music is often accompanied by rituals with a specific purpose to connect with the spiritual world in order to heal. When Gnawa music began attracting droves of tourists, the Moroccan government publicized it on a government website and in 1998 launched the Gnawa music festival in the southern city of Essaouira.


A Fountain at the Temple Beth-El in Casablanca


The roots of the Jewish population in Morocco can be traced to four diasporas that took refuge in the country over a period spanning many centuries. While the faith has many unique traditions, ever since the fourth wave of Jewish immigration to Morocco, many aspects of their culture have meshed together with that of the Moroccan land they inhabited. The Moroccan city of Casablanca maintains the largest Jewish community along with the only Jewish museum in the Arab world.

Today Morocco's Jewish population numbers are small, yet many are optimistic about the future revival of the community and live in peace with Moroccan Muslims. The country is experiencing growth in Jewish-heritage tourism.

During Shabbat Jews in Morocco traditionally enjoyed a meal of wheat, meat and dried peas. Possibly the original slow-cooked meal, this Moroccan stew was prepared by cooking these ingredients slowly overnight at a low temperature. The name of the dish, known as dafina, refers to it being covered or smothered. Interested in the recipe? Click here!

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If Taylor Swift Songs Were Types Of Alcohol

Because what's better than a drink and some T-Swift?

With Taylor Swift's quick return to the music scene... and in a big way, might I add, I decided to associate some of the best Taylor Swift songs with alcohol.

I mean, who wouldn't want to drink to Taylor Swift's catchy melodies and perfect choruses to get over an ex or tell someone exactly how you feel about them?

Taylor Swift has been around for a decade at this point, and let's face it, pretty much all of her songs could go along with at least one type of alcohol.

1. "Welcome To New York" - Moscow Mule

It only makes sense. Visit the Big Apple and you have to indulge in the state's signature cocktail. Moscow mules are a New York classic, and if it's your first night in the city and you haven't bought yourself one, are you even in New York?

2. "Blank Space" - Everclear

Think about it... A night of drinking Everclear will leave you with a giant blank space the next day. You might also look like Taylor did in the music video.

3. "Tim McGraw" - Beer

Tim McGraw is a throwback to Taylor's high school love. What better way to reminisce than with a couple friends and a keg of your favorite cheap beer?

4. "Style" - Cristal Champagne

What's more stylish than with a glass of the most expensive bubbly you can find? Just like Taylor Swift, Cristal will never go out of style.

5. "Shake It Off" - Martini

Get it? Cause you shake a martini? I might be the only one who thinks that's funny but you might end up dancing a little bit with a martini in hand when "Shake It Off" come on the radio.

6. "Red" - Merlot

Red has to go along with a red wine. What else could go along with yet *another* T-Swift breakup song?

7. "22" - Margaritas

Let's face it, when you're 22, you really only drink margaritas. They're fun- and all the hipsters are probably drinking them too.

8. "Teardrops On My Guitar" - Southern Comfort

When your heart is broken, who are you going to turn to besides the only alcohol that gives you comfort...Southern Comfort that is.

9. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Fireball

I can't say I've ever met anyone who spent a night with Fireball and didn't regret it the next morning.

10. "Look What You Mad Me Do" - Tequila

T-Swift's latest single is an angry one. What better to make you angry than tequila? Taylor basically just called out everyone who had ever talked about her behind her back and she did it in true Taylor fashion-by writing a song. She was probably drunk on tequila when she wrote it too.

11. ...Ready For It? - Bottomless Mimosas

Because it's just that good.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Which Guest Cameo Are You From The 'thank u, next' Music Video, Based On Your Zodiac Sign?

Are you more of a Kris Jenner or Miranda Sings?


Ariana's most recent single "thank u, next" has had everyone shook since she released it out of nowhere. Not only is the song an anthem, but the message behind the lyrics are empowering for girls everywhere who have been through a tough heartbreak.

After the song's release, none of us thought that the music video would go to this iconic level, but then the previews for the music video came out, and we were wrong. I loved all of the different references to some of my favorite rom-com movies, but my absolute favorite was seeing all of the different guest stars that Ari included in the video.

If you're wondering which guest cameo you're most like, here's what your zodiac says about you:

Sagittarius - Stephanie Drummond

Kind of like Stephanie, aka the "army pants and flip flops" girl from Mean Girls, Sagittarius' are very straightforward and won't hold back from telling something to someone. They're also very enthusiastic about certain things and curious to try something new, which makes them super unique.

Capricorn - Daniella Monet

Capricorns are smart, hard-working, and fully in control over your life, just like Daniella. There are times where they might stress themselves out to the max to make sure everything is perfect, but they're confident what they want and are determined to achieve that goal.

Aquarius - Elizabeth Gillies

Aquarius' are always fun with friends, which is just like Liz Gillies and her friendship with Ari. They're also good listeners and always willing to help others, as well as fight for causes that are important to them.

Pisces - Troye Sivan

Pisces are very creative and imaginative, just like Troye. These people aspire to achieve emotional and spiritual harmony, which can be easily seen from their generosity and compassion for others. However, they also sometimes value dedicating time for themselves to recharge, which is never a bad thing.

Aries - Gabi DeMartino

As an Aries, these people walk with confidence and determination and are true-born leaders. This means that they also have no problem with being honest or assertive and that they simply have no time for anyone else's BS.

Taurus - Jonathan Bennett

Just like Jonathan Bennett, who's best known for playing teenage heartthrob Aaron Samuels in Mean Girls, taurus' extremely reliable and trustworthy. They want everything around them and in their life to be simple, which might not always be easy, but Taurus' are also known for their patience.

Gemini - Miranda Sings

Geminis tend to be very expressive people, which is just like Miranda Sings (aka Colleen Bellinger). They might have a bad rep, but they're also very curious, versatile, and affectionate.

Cancer - Ariana

As Cancer signs, these people are very sweet, have an intuitive side, and are kind to everyone around them, even if they're just a stranger, which is just like Ariana. Other signs might think that these people are just simply cute, but appearances are misleading and there's definitely more to this sign than being cute, such as being an imaginative person and a loyal friend.

Leo - Matt Bennett

Leos are known for being warm-hearted and cheerful people, just like Ari's best friend Matt Bennett. They're also very humorous and goofy and are the people that can help cheer anyone else up who needs it.

Virgo - Kris Jenner

Virgos are known for their strong loyalty and hard work they put into everything they do, which is just like Kris Jenner as the "mom-ager" for her kids. They're also very intelligent and analytical, and are dedicated to making sure that everything is perfect.

Libra - Jennifer Coolidge

Just like Jennifer Coolidge's role in the music video (and Legally Blonde), Libras are extremely compassionate and understanding with everyone around them. They are also in a constant search for peace and fairness, which is why they also tend to be fair-minded.

12. Scorpio - Bruiser

Last but not least, Scorpios are well known for being resourceful and passionate about what they do. There are times where they can be a bit stubborn, but at the end of the day, they're also known for being a true friend, or in this case, like a Bruiser to Elle Woods.

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