Here in America and in most of Canada, we have funeral traditions that have stood the test of time for decades, even centuries.
But our traditions are vastly different from those in other countries and cultures.
This article looks at Moroccan funeral traditions and is part of a series that highlights how different cultures care for their dead. Other parts of the series are about Kuwaiti funeral traditions and Sudanese funeral traditions, among others.
Note, these traditions may vary depending on the individual and their own beliefs.
With 99% of Moroccans identifying as Muslim, Islam is Morocco’s most common religion. Muslims believe in burying the deceased within 24 hours of the death when possible. On Judgment Day, it’s determined whether the deceased goes to heaven or hell.
Moroccan Funeral and Burial Customs
The deceased’s family prepares the body either at home or at a mosque. They wash the deceased and wrap the body in white linen while performing ritual chants.
For the burial, they bury the deceased facing Mecca. They place protective objects around the grave such as myrtle twigs because they believe angels like its smell.
A few days after a Moroccan funeral, the deceased’s family gathers for a meal to honor their loved one’s memory. They make food to send good vibes to the spirits, and they also read sections of the Quran out loud — which is Islam’s central religious text.
The Moroccan mourning period involves several elaborate rituals that typically lasts 40 days. Unlike in many cultures, Moroccan people wear white rather than black while grieving. They associate the color white with calmness and tranquility.
For widows, they host a feast to honor their late husband on the 40th day after his death. This marks the end of the formal mourning period. Widows also have an iddah period of three months where they can’t remarry or interact with men who aren’t family.