Etiquette in Morocco

By the last estimate, there are 33.85 million people living in Morocco.

The official language of Morocco is Classical Arabic, the primary language. Some people speak Berber in rural areas. French is taught universally and is the unofficial language of business and commerce.

98% of Moroccans are Muslim.

The currency is the Moroccan dirham (MAD) and they are 5 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone.

Greetings are formal. It is considered polite to inquire after the health and well-being of family.

Handshakes are customary between members of the same sex.

If you have a relationship with a Moroccan, it would be usual to kiss both cheeks starting with the left, men with men, women with women.

When men greet women, a woman must extend her hand for it to be shaken. Otherwise, men bow their heads as a greeting.

Give and receive objects using your right hand. Shake hands with the right hand.

Business is relationship-driven and requires respect. Expect to invest time in your connection with business people. Show concern for others and build trust in your relationship.

Who you know matters. Develop a strong network of personal contacts in order to work through the bureaucracy.

Personal appearance is essential in how you are viewed by business contacts.

Business practices are marked by courtesy and formality.

Anticipate that the person you are meeting with may run late by anywhere from half an hour to a full day.

If you are invited into an Morrocan’s home, good gifts for the hostess include nuts, flowers, or pastries. Don’t bring alcohol unless you’re certain the recipient partakes.

Do not give pink, violet, or yellow colored gifts, as these symbolize death.

Small gifts for children are a sign of affection.

Try not to give gifts easily found in the country, and check to see where the gift is made before gifting.

Don’t expect your gift to be opened when it’s received.

Dress modestly.

Remove your shoes at the door.

Men and women sit separately.

Greet the eldest person in the room when you enter. Greet people by walking around the room to your right.

Continue to use your right hand for eating and passing dishes.

When offered food politely decline by patting your stomach and shaking your head, noting “La, shukrran (no thank you). When offered again, accept a small portion. It will be appreciated if you reciprocate in offering food.

Beckoning others to approach with your index finger is impolite. Place your palm downward and sweep the hand towards yourself.

Don’t discuss the royal family, the political situation in Western Sahara and Algeria, or drugs. Be prudent in discussing Islam and Al’lah (God).

Eat, drink, and smoke indoors during Ramadan.

Be respectful when passing by a mosque.

You may photograph mosques, but not the inside.

You will likely be invited to enter a mosque, but wait to be invited.

Do not photograph checkpoints, military, police, or airport installations; it’s forbidden.

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