BY Ama Nunoo, 10:30am February 23, 2021,

A look at Morocco’s water sellers turned tourist attractions

Water sellers of Morocco in their beautiful ensemble. Photo:

Water sellers played a vital role in the early trade circles of the Moroccan desert. These water sellers sold water to thirsty travelers from their goatskin tar-lined bags. They also sold water to thirsty visitors from the outskirts of the city.

The water selling trade, to date, is only done by men locally referred to Gharrib. It is hard to miss a water seller because of their elaborate and colorful costumes. They wear robes, usually red, a large hat with bells clanging from their outfits, and brass water cups which they ring cheerfully to announce their presence and arrival to potential buyers.

In recent times, water sellers have become a part of Morocco’s tourist attractions and they are usually found in Djema el Fna square in Marrakech.

Now, they are mostly entertainers who take money from tourists who fancy getting photos of them. They walk hours on end parading the grounds as this is their source of livelihood. Sometimes, tourists drop some coins from their native countries in the bags and these water sellers carry them around all the time.

Some locals still do buy water from them as they consider it Barakka or good luck to drink the water they sell, and the coins are kept in huge leather bags. The people do not mind sharing the same cup.

Morocco has over the years placed a high premium on tourism as a strategic industry for the growth and sustainability of its economy. Several authoritative outlets have listed the North African country as the most preferred destination for tourists in North Africa.

There are other interesting traditions that only Moroccans can understand. Morocco, despite its religious inclination as an Islamic country, is blessed with a rich culture that is a blend of Arab, Berber, European and African influences.

When visiting Morocco, it is important to note that your hosts may require a little gift from you as a way of appreciating their hospitality.

Moroccans are very hospitable and always happy to help a missing tourist or welcome their guests into their homes. They do not fail to shower these guests with unriddled affection, so it is not advisable to travel to the North African country without taking your gift along as well.

Also, Fridays in Morocco are observed differently than in other parts of the world. The day is usually solemn, unlike the usual Friday buzz that earmarks the end of a long week where people are looking to unwind in pubs during happy hour.

Moroccans have a usual Friday couscous ritual on the Islamic congregational prayer day unlike the rest of the world. Their way of making the dish takes hours and like Sunday dinners at ‘Big Mama’s house’, the people here gather around to enjoy their beloved mandatory seven vegetable couscous, i.e, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, tomato, and a bit of cabbage.

Families sit around to enjoy their couscous, and this almost always follows the Friday prayers where they eat their fill.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 23, 2021


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