On the night of the 27th of each Ramadan, the streets of the cities of Morocco turn into a collective wedding, a revival of a tradition passed down by Moroccan families and made sure to pass it on for generations, before moving from homes to a collective celebration outside them.
In celebration tents set up in the streets, parents stack up, holding the hands of their little girls, who discovered the experience of fasting for the first time, so that the reward would be their brides. Read also The Arabs introduced many of them … ancient Ramadan legacies and renewed rituals among Ugandan Muslims Ramadan rituals in Jordan … Empty streets and absent family gatherings Ramadan Zaman in Morocco .. Popular songs for children and rituals celebrating the young fasting”Ramadan in Jerusalem” … the joy of folk rituals in the holy city of Al-Mada’in
Moroccan families have been encouraging young children to fast by celebrating them at the end of the day by dressing them in bridal clothes, and carrying them on the hookah, which the bride carries with it in Morocco on her wedding night.
Families take photos of the happy event, which are hung in the most important corner of the house to commemorate and encourage the first day of fasting.
The young girls’ hands are decorated with henna inscriptions, and they wear the bride’s dress, in what is called in the Moroccan vernacular as “tinkef”, meaning brides dressing, and it is required that she break her fast on dates and milk, which she drinks with a gold bracelet around her mouth, indicating that her fasting was as valuable as gold.
Some grandmothers devised a way to encourage young children to fast, by making them fast for half a day, and the next day to fast the second half of the day, then sew two pieces of cloth – indicating that each piece represents half a day – so that children can boast of fasting for a full day.
For years, Moroccan families used to revive the weather in grandmothers’ homes, before it turned into a seasonal project for some bridal decorations, who suffer recession throughout the month of Ramadan, due to the lack of weddings.
The streets turn into a big wedding, with tents being set up in each neighborhood, where girls are decorated and photographed for an amount that varies from one neighborhood to another.
Mosques open their doors to worshipers from Maghrib prayer until dawn, and the reciters take turns leading the people, including children with sweet voices, who are given the opportunity to pray with people on the Night of Power.
At the wide open doors of mosques, the needy congregate in small circles, and the neighborhood residents present to them couscous dishes with “taffia” (meaning onions and raisins with sugar), which is the dish approved for this night on every Moroccan table.
The house smells of incense in celebration of the blessed night, and on each table between breakfast and dinner meals is served tea and a plate in which dry fruits are mixed with fruits, a dish that symbolizes for Moroccans the blessing.
Women sew a special dress for Laylat al-Qadr, and passers-by appear on the streets in a uniform dress that night, the Moroccan jilbab.
Men also wear traditional dress, either the jilbab or the “bidiya” similar to the men’s shirt But with short sleeves, and with Moroccan inscriptions.
Ramadan is a popular season for traditional dressmakers, as women adopt two pieces, one for the 27th night and the other for the day of Eid, if not more.
The people exchange visits on Laylat al-Qadr, which they call “the night of the tenths,” and the word is derived from ten, which is every tenth that precedes the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, so you find Moroccans on both occasions exchanging greetings with the phrase “Congratulations of the ten.”
On Laylat al-Qadr, people march to the mosques in groups, carrying their supplies with the intention of staying there until dawn.
Large numbers go to mosques, whose reciters are famous for their sweetness of voice, and perhaps the most famous of them is Omar al-Qazabri, who leads worshipers at the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco and the second in Africa.
In 2019, 30,000 worshipers prayed in the mosque daily , while the number increases on Laylat al-Qadr.
After the morning prayer, the streets are filled with passers-by again, returning to their homes to have a rest before sunrise, so that it is a blessed white night that Moroccans master in reviving it.
The spread of the Corona virus and the measures taken to limit it prevented Moroccans from living these rituals for two consecutive years, and also from Tarawih prayers throughout the days of the holy month.