Monday, August 13, 2018

Eid-el-Kebir 2018 in Morocco

After observing the crescent moon on the evening of August 12, the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs indicates that Eid-el-Kebir (Aid Al Adha) will be celebrated on Wednesday, August 22

In a statement, the ministry said that the lunar crescent announcing the month of Dou Al Hijja of the year 1439 AH was observed on August 12 and therefore Eid-el-Kebir will be celebrated on 10 Dou Al Hijja 1439, August 22, 2018.

The calendar is this year to follow a weekend (18 and 19 August), the Anniversary of the revolution of the king and the people (August 20), the Youth Day (August 21) and therefore the Aid (22 august), heralding a long weekend in the summer.

The feast of Eid-el-Kebir is "the Feast of Sacrifice", and is one of the most important celebrations related to the Muslim faith. It is a commemoration of Abraham's submission (Ibrahim in Arabic) to the will of God when he asked him to sacrifice his son Ishmael.

While Abraham was about to slit the throat of the child, Jibarel (the angel Gabriel) replaced him with a sheep. Since then, every Muslim family has to sacrifice an animal, traditionally a sheep or a ram, but sometimes a cow or a goat.

The Celebration of Eid-el-Kebir

Eid-el-Kebir is a family celebration. The whole family puts on their best clothes on this occasion. On the day of Eid-el-Kebir, special care is taken in the morning ablutions before the prayer, which is particularly sacred that day.

Then comes the sacrifice of the sheep. The sacrifice is performed according to the rites by the head of the family. Part of the sacrifice will have to be offered (a third) to the needy and is considered a "Sadaka" (or gift).


Chinese Tourists Drive Restaurant Growth

During the first five months of the year, nearly 100,000 Chinese tourists visited the kingdom taking advantage of the visa exemption introduced in 2016

According to the representative office of the Moroccan National Office of Tourism (ONMT) in China, 120,000 Chinese nationals visited the kingdom in 2017. But in the first five months of this year, this number has already reached 100,000.

"Since Morocco announced the visa waiver for Chinese citizens in June 2016, the number of Chinese tourists to Morocco has increased rapidly and the boom is far from over," reports Global Times.

Chinese restaurants in Morocco are among the first beneficiaries of the massive influx of Chinese tourists.

Liu Mei, owner of a Chinese restaurant in Rabat, told Xinhua that after the visa waiver for Chinese citizens, the number of Chinese tourists in his restaurant has increased significantly.

In 2017, the turnover of its restaurant has doubled compared to the previous year.

Huang Zhiyong, a restaurateur in Casablanca, said his restaurant was also doing good business. At present, it receives an average of 6,000 clients per month, 70% of which are Chinese tourists and businessmen.

Before the visa exemption for Chinese citizens, the number of Chinese restaurants in Morocco was no more than five. At present, the number has increased to over 20.

A Chinese travel agency in Morocco, AMC Voyages, says it is very optimistic about Morocco's tourism market. Its director, Lin Chaoxin, told Xinhua that since the launch of the visa-free policy in June 2016, Chinese tourists have shown growing interest in visiting Morocco.

He said Morocco has unique tourism resources and that the number of Chinese travelers to the kingdom over the next decade will continue to increase. A trend confirmed by the Chinese ambassador to Morocco, Li Li, who said that since the exemption of Morocco's visa for Chinese citizens, the number of Chinese tourists has increased significantly, ranking first in the growth of foreign tourists in the kingdom.

Li said that 2018 marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, China and Morocco "will seize the opportunity to deepen pragmatic cooperation in various fields, including tourism."

Hundreds of Chinese are employed in the tourism industry in Morocco. Zhang Kai, an Arabic-language graduate from the Beijing Foreign Studies University, who has been working in the sector for two years in Morocco, believes the influx of Chinese tourists will continue.

The People's Daily, a major Chinese newspaper , says that at the moment, in spite of hot weather, one can observe Chinese people everywhere in Morocco, from Tangier to the desert of the Saharan provinces.

The Chinese daily comments that since the abolition of visas for Chinese citizens in June 2016, the number of Chinese tourists in Morocco continues to increase, and this trend is not about to weaken.

It is that Morocco has many attractions, said the Chinese daily quoting, among others, the long coastline, as well as the Sahara desert, snow-capped mountains, ancient cities and other scenic spots and a rich cultural heritage, in short abundant tourist resources.

According to the Chinese newspaper, tourism is one of the main industries of Morocco. By 2020, the Moroccan government hopes to make the country one of the top 20 tourist destinations in the world. As a result, Morocco is paying more and more attention to Chinese tourists, who represent significant potential.

The paper reports that, during the China-Morocco Tourism Forum, held last February in Casablanca, Mohamed Sajid, the Minister of Tourism, said that Morocco attaches great importance to cooperation in the field of tourism. tourism with China. He also pledged to continue to improve infrastructure, hotel standards, transport quality and to strengthen air transport capacity between the two countries. Ultimately, the minister hopes to attract 500,000 Chinese tourists each year by 2020, with the implementation of this policy of openness in this market.

However, some Moroccans question the target of only 500,000, given that there are 400 million Chinese tourists who leave each year on vacation.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Book For Sufi Festival Now and Save!

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Thursday, August 09, 2018

Australians Get a Taste of Morocco

The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Canberra has just launched the first Festival of Moroccan Gastronomy at the Hyatt hotel. The public is invited, for ten days, to discover the flavours of the culinary heritage of the Kingdom

Organized as part of the festivities marking the 19th anniversary of the Throne Day, the event "The Flavors of Morocco " was inaugurated by the Ambassador of His Majesty the King in Australia, Karim Medrek and the Minister of Multicultural Affairs, Rachel Stephen Smith, in the presence of several heads of diplomatic missions accredited to Canberra and a host of personalities from the world of politics, culture, and civil society.

" This initiative, the first of its kind in Australia, aims to introduce the Moroccan culinary art and its flavors to the Australian public ," Medrek said in a statement to MAP on the sidelines of the opening ceremony.

The Ambassador explained that " Moroccan cuisine is one of the most refined and diversified thanks to the country's interaction with other cultures and nations over several centuries, particularly through its African, Berber, Moorish tributaries, Arab, Jewish and Mediterranean ". The richness of Moroccan cuisine also comes from ancestral know-how, which has always crossed generations, he added.

And to emphasise that Morocco and Australia " enjoy excellent relations and that such events help to bring together the two peoples who share the value of hospitality ".

For his part, the Director General of the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, Fredrick Arul, said that the event " is an opportunity for Australians to taste the dishes and dishes that make the richness of the culinary arts of Morocco, a country that attracts more and more Australian tourists . "

" For this premiere in Canberra, the hotel is experiencing unprecedented enthusiasm for its prestigious restaurant" la Promenade ", which has 150 people daily. A craze expected given the notoriety enjoyed by Moroccan cuisine around the world, "he said, adding that this kind of event is very important to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between Rabat and Canberra and mutual understanding between the two peoples.

The guests at this first evening, enhanced by traditional Moroccan music, have not lost any praise for the delicious dishes, including the must-haves of Moroccan gastronomy couscous with seven vegetables, meat tagine with prunes, the Pastilla, the chicken with olives and lemon confit without forgetting the essential tea with mint. A unique tasting experience offering diners the opportunity to discover a range of dishes as refined as each other.

Hassan M'Souli

These gastronomic days will continue until August 12 with the participation of the Moroccan chef, Hassan M'Souli and his "new Moroccan" cuisine.


Sunday, August 05, 2018

Shock Closure of Tangier's Famous Cafe Hafa

The famous Café Hafa, an iconic place in the city Tangier, has been closed since Saturday morning. The  reason given is that it is undergoing an "operation of destruction" of a terrace built,"without license", by its owner

Cafe Hafa - a work by Australian artist Bryan Dawe

Yesterday, local media Tanja 24 reported the information, saying the local authorities in the city  proceeded to the destruction of pillars and a concrete slab mounted without a building permit. "Under the supervision of the director of the urban commune of Tangier and the boss of the Second Administrative District, the authorities proceeded to the demolition of the construction and prevented the customers from going to the cafe," the media continues.

The weekend destruction 

The destruction by the local authorities has been denounced the public and by Abderrahman El Akel, owner of the café. In a statement to Hespress, he says the intervention "has been marked by several dysfunctions". He says that he did not receive a notice of demolition when his request to the competent authorities for the granting of a building permit was not returned.

Café Hafa is considered a heritage site in the city of Tangier. Built in 1921, it is visited daily by Moroccan tourists and foreigners, who come to enjoy a mint tea and a panoramic view of the Mediterranean.


Friday, August 03, 2018

Ashura Crackers Now Illegal

The Muslim world celebrates the Day of Ashura on November 3rd or 4th, depending on which country you are in. It is the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar but now fireworks are banned from the festivities

While the Day of Ashura in Sunni Morocco has been traditionally a day of celebration and joy, it is celebrated differently by Shia Muslims, who see it as a day of mourning.

In Morocco the local customs associated with Ashura vary across the country. People exchange pastry and mixes of nut fruits and dried raisins and apricots. Children play with fireworks in the streets and on the eve of Ashura light a fire called the Sh'ala (Arabic: الشعالة‎) and parents and family buy toys for their children.

However, Ashura fireworks may be a thing of the past.

A law published in the last issue of the Official Journal comes to put an end to the noises and clashes caused by pyrotechnic materials (firecrackers, artificial or "recreational meteors"(sky rockets) ...) during the festival of Ashura.

It is now official: Law No. 22.16 on explosive substances for civil use, artificial meteors and leisure equipment containing pyrotechnic materials has officially entered into force. According to this law, the festival of Ashura will no longer know the habits practiced by spoilers exploding firecrackers or other products of this kind.

According to Article 54 of the said law, culprits are liable to imprisonment for 2 to 5 years, in addition to a fine ranging from DH 50,000 to DH 500,000 or both, any person in illegal possession of explosive materials or artificial meteors. The penalty also applies to persons who illegally import or manufacture pyrotechnic materials.

Article II of the Law published in the Official Gazette No. 6694 stipulates the creation of a National Explosives Commission, which will be responsible for expressing an opinion with regard to the legislative and regulatory provisions governing explosive materials, artificial meteors and recreational equipment containing pyrotechnic materials. The said Commission will also endeavour to study the decisions of the regional explosives commissions with a view to guaranteeing security and serenity to Moroccans.