Well, Sunday is Christmas, how’d that happen? I guess I thought that perhaps celebrating Christmas in a country where there is effectively no Christmas would be slightly easier (you know, no sales to rush out to, no huge parties to attend), but I’ve found out it actually takes more time! One of the reasons it takes more time is that I have 3 small boys who still need Christmas, and I’ve been going out of my way to make sure that they still feel the “Christmas Spirit”. Here are 10 quick facts about Christmas in Morocco.
10 Facts about Christmas in Morocco
1. Morocco is a Muslim country, so Christmas is not an official (banks, stores closed) holiday in Morocco.
2. Morocco used to be a protectorate of France, so there are many people living in Morocco with French citizenship or French ancestry, including many (but not all) are French Catholics, who do celebrate Christmas.
3. Morocco is on the continent of Africa, and there are many people living in Morocco from “Sub-Saharan” African countries like Senegal, Congo and South Africa. Many (but not all) of these people are Christians and/or Catholics, who do celebrate Christmas.
4. Morocco also has a significant “expat” community from Europe and the United States, as well as the Phillipines. Many (but not all) of these expats celebrate Christmas.
5. Most Moroccans know Santa Clause by his French name – Pere Noel (literally – Father Christmas).
6. Even though the majority of Moroccans do not celebrate Christmas, you can find Christmas trees, lights, decorations and plenty of toys on sale at the big stores (Marjane, Alpha 55 and the Morocco Mall).
7. All of the American Schools, and many French Schools held Christmas Shows, Christmas Fairs etc. to celebrate the Christmas Holiday.
8. Many individuals held individual holiday dinners and holiday parties to celebrate the Christmas holiday.
9. The French and American schools are on break during the Christmas holiday (which means I’m out for 2 weeks!), but most of the Moroccan public and private schools are not (Which means my kids could’ve gone to school on Christmas – although thankfully Christmas falls on a Sunday.)
10. My family has been able to turn this holiday season into a great one, but choosing the holiday traditions we like best (making cookies, decorating the tree) and feel slightly separated from some of the commercialism we sometimes felt in the states.