Traveling to Morocco During Ramadan

Ramadan Foods, Soups, Breads and Sweets

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan, considered as the most important holiday in Islam, happens in the ninth month of the twelve-month lunar calendar followed in Islam. These lunar months are twelve days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, so Ramadan occurs earlier in each Gregorian year.
During Ramadan, a holy holiday, all Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for one month, only eating after sundown. Non-Muslims in Morocco are not expected to observe Ramadan, but should be sensitive about not breaking the fast in public. In its observance, Ramadan parallels the traditional Christian Lent. The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, it commemorates the time in which the Koran was revealed to Muhammad. The Ramadan fast involves abstention from food, drink smoking and sex during daylight hours throughout the months. It is forbidden to even drink water. No matter what part of the world you are from, all Muslims follow the same rules and traditions with regards to Ramadan.

What is the Meaning of Ramadan?

While Ramadan may seem like a perplexing holiday to non-Muslims, non-believers may be surprised to learn how much Muslims look forward to the fast. Many feel it is a time of spiritual healing and cleansing. Post Ramadan, many Muslims participate in Shawwal, a six day fast following Aïd el Fitr.  Since Ramadan is a holiday of learning to become a better person, Muslims prepare foods and buy presents to give to their friends, family and the poor.

How can I participate in Ramadan?

Your Morocco Travel Agent or Boutique Riad can arrange for you to participate in a ’Ftour – Ramadan Breakfast with a Moroccan family so you can experience Ramadan first hand.

Harira Soup, Ramadan Food

What Special Foods do Moroccan’s eat during Ramadan?

Ramadan Soups and Sweets: Harira and Chebakia 

Moroccan soups are tasty and fortifying and are accompanied during Ramadan with an assortment of sugary sweets to boost energy levels after a day of fasting  The Ramadan fast is broken with harira a lentil and tomato based soup. dates and dried figs and chebakia, which are flower-shaped cookies soaked in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Sweets are an integral part of the social aspect of Ramadan and the ftour meal.

Stuffed Dates include Orange flower water and cinnamon which are used to flavor the almond paste filling. Makrout with Dates and Honey is another special occasion sweet which is popular in Ramadan. A mild date paste is enclosed in a log of semolina dough, then the  cookies are sliced, fried and dipped in honey. Almond Briouats are made by folding almond paste flavored with orange flower water and cinnamon within warqa dough. The pastries are fried and then soaked briefly in honey.  Cheese briouats are foiled with cream cheese filling. Herbs or hot peppers can be added for more flavor.

Hssoua Belboua is barley soup with milk. It combines barley grits with milk to yield a rich, creamy soup that’s both nutritious and satisfying.  There is also Semolina soup with milk, anise seeds and honey.

Moroccan Ramadan Breads

Ramadan Breads, Msemen, Rghayif, Harcha and Baghrir

After the soup comes a variety of breads such as msemen and rghayif (layered flatbreads cooked in a skillet); puffed, pita breadlike rounds called batbout; and perhaps some harcha, an unleavened flatbread, sometimes made with cornmeal. Arrayed with them on the table are marmalades, butter, and cheeses, often including the fresh cheese jben. There are bowls of olives and others of hard-boiled eggs, which are peeled and then dipped in ground cumin or black pepper. Moroccans living along the Atlantic coast will also serve fried fish, usually sardines.

Ramadan Fried Appetizers: Briouats 

Another  favorite are triangular or cylindrical phyllo briouats. Briouats, are pan-fried—not baked—to golden deliciousness. Some are savory, stuffed with fresh cheese and finished with a drizzle of honey, while others are sweet, filled with crushed almonds, sugar, and spices.

Sellou, Ramadan Sweets

Sweets reappear at the end of the ftour meal. Platters are piled with cookies, among them twice-baked Moroccan Tea Biscuits known as fekkas with their lovely scent of orange-flower water.”Treats such as m’hanncha, called “snake cake” for its concentric circles, are another representative dessert. Dates reappear on the table, this time stuffed, often with a homemade almond paste.

Sellou is a  Moroccan sweet  served during Ramadan made from toasted sesames, fried almonds and flour that has been browned in the oven