The Islamic calender also has 12 months like the Gregorian, however whereas the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar (i.e. based on the earth’s orbit of the sun) the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This means that the calendar does not correspond directly to the seasons in the same way that the western calendar does, although it is of either the same length per year or one day less so it is fairly similar. The month of Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is a considered the holiest of months in Islam as it was during this month that Qu’ran was revealed to Muhammed, therefore the month is a time of special observance for Muslims as they fast as it is seen as a way to burn away sins. The fast includes refraining from eating or drinking whilst the sun is in the sky, not smoking and forgoing sexual activity during daylight hours. This means that during the day it can seem bizarre when observing cafés in Marrakech and only seeing tourists inside them, however Ramadan also means that during the evenings once the sun goes down the city takes on an almost party like atmosphere as people rejoice in finally being able to get some food and drink. It also means that for an hour between 7-8pm virtually everything is shut as families return to their homes in anticipation of breaking the fast, this making it quite hard on occasion to find anyone to ask for directions or a shop where one can buy water during that time period. However it does mean that when people return from breaking their fast they are generally in an exceptionally cheery mood, lending the city a very pleasant atmosphere.
This picture is of a meal made by our very own staff members at our Riad Cinnamon in anticipation of breaking their fast. This is in many ways a typical meal for someone living in Marrakech and about to enjoy finally breaking their fast at the end of a long day, as the fast starts at 4am and normally finishes around 7:30. The observers of the fast know that they can begin to eat when the muhaddin starts the evening call to prayer. All these things lend a magical air to Marrakech during Ramadan and there is no better time of year to visit this city in order to enjoy this wonderful time of year. Our Riads are wonderfully placed within Marrakech’s historic medina allowing you to take full advantage of all the city has to offer. Book a room today so you too can share in this wonderful experience.
The Jewish community has a long history in Marrakech and Morocco at large, indeed the history of the community stretches back to antiquity under the Roman empire following the dissolution of the Jewish state in 70 AD with Jewish people arriving after the destruction of the Jewish state. The Jewish people received relatively kind treatment under the sultans due to their usage of the jiyza system whereby they were left alone as long as they paid their taxes. The community played a prominent role in Moroccan life until the formation of the state of Israel when large numbers left to emigrate to Israel. A very noticeable legacy has however been left by the community both physically and culturally, indeed although the Jewish quarter no longer contains any Jewish people it is still named as such, as an indicator of the areas legacy.
There is also a historic Jewish cemetery to be found in Marrakech, locally known as the Miara, which is an indicator of Jewish cultural heritage in the area. All of these things contribute to historical and cultural aspects of Marrakech that make it one of the most vibrant and interesting cities to visit in the world. A stay in one of our Riads puts you right in the heart of this in Marrakech’s historical Medina allowing you access to all the great culture and heritage Marrakech has to offer.