Morocco’s Friday Couscous

Every Friday lunchtime a large ornate clay tagine dish arrives on the ground floor of the charity Henna Café, which is where many visiting guests and local Marrakshi and Marrakshia’s will come to get an education for free in a number of subjects.

Aside from the black flags flying aloft the many Mosques around the medina’s riads, this dish indicated that it is indeed a Friday. The tajine pot is filled with freshly made couscous from Tarique and his brother Hassan who run a small convenience store opposite. As the hardest of all Moroccan dishes to make correctly, couscous is saved each week for this special day of worship in the Islamic calendar.

After ten minutes Tarique arrives with two friends as he vacates his shop temporarily to walk the two meters to the Henna Café, and they commence with spoons to eat.  As the meal continues, three others arrive as Tariques friend is departing and exchange a few courteous words between the group before finding a stool, spoon and a small section of couscous to eat. This process goes on for a further forty five minutes with around 15 men, including the host, coming and going after a few mouthfuls and a small but intimate catch-up.

Not seen however outside the medina walls of the old cities around Morocco, this national cultural custom is an example of the hospitality and brotherhood shared among those of the Muslim faith living and working inside these close knit and traditional parts of many Moroccan cities and a very good reason to visit Morocco.

An authentic traditional feeling of homeliness and unpretentious welcoming is what makes the riads of Marrakech-riad the warm and unforgettable experience that they are for so many, and what aid in making your visit to Marrakech exquisite.

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