Map of Morocco
“Morocco.” Map. Google Maps. Google, 31 Oct. 2018. Web. 31 Oct. 2018.

Officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco, Morocco has a diverse landscape with deserts, beautiful sandy coastlines on both the Atlantic ocean and Mediterranean Sea, and mountainous peaks with three prominent mountain ranges that run parallel to each other: the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas, and the Anti-Atlas. Morocco is a land of fascinating scenery which is why tourism is one of its major industries.Most Moroccans are of Arab, or mixed Arab- Berber decent and make up 99% of the population. The traditional dress for men and women is called a jellaba which is primarily a long-sleeved, hooded garment. Men may also choose to wear a red cap called a fez.

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DouniaDounia immigrated to the United States from Morocco in 2007 in order to pursue her independence and freedom. She spoke about the kaftan which is a more traditional dress that a woman wears at home a she wore a blue kaftan during her interview. During weddings she wears a two-piece dress called a tuckshita which she described as “very royal.” Dounia usually wears the dresses when she is in Morocco to weddings or special events. When asked how she felt wearing these cultural dresses she said, “Back home when you have the right make-up and hair, it’s amazing,” but she does not generally wear the dresses in the United States. The man also has a kaftan which is usually a simple, white dress similar to the women.

Dounia on her wedding day

The dresses represent where she comes from and she describes it as “something you don’t want to lose,” and they are more special to her because she grew up in Morocco, it’s who she is.

During her wedding she wore 7 different dresses and each dress represented a different area of Morocco. Dounia notices the fashions changing with a lot more beading rather than a simpler look compared to what dresses looked at when her mother wore them. She thinks it is important for her son to know about his Moroccan culture which influences her to buy him cultural clothing at a young age.

Jacket bought for Dounia's son
A jacket Dounia’s mother bought for Dounia’s son from Morocco

Hayat Benali

Hayat BenaliHayat is a first-generation Moroccan immigrant who was born in the city of Kenitra. She lived in Europe prior to her immigration to the United States, specifically in Italy and in France where she attended culinary and baking schools. Hayat came to the United States in1987 at the age of 30 and later met her husband. She is now living in the Milwaukee area and has three children. Hayat BenaliCultural clothing plays an important part in Hayat’s life, especially since her family is in the business of making the beautiful Moroccan clothing pieces. Hayat owns six different dresses and she has every intention of purchasing more when she goes back to visit Morocco. Hayat explains that there are many different styles of dresses, but the main piece that is seen throughout Morocco is two-piece clothing called a takshita. It consists of a bottom, such as a skirt and a top, which is a long dress that usually has a slit. The bottom is always simple and the top is always extravagant, containing embroidery or beads with a belt that goes on top. Another dress is called a kaftan, a traditional type of Moroccan clothing that is worn with a belt as well. It is made of two separate pieces; the bottom piece is a long dress that is very simple and plain and the second piece goes on top of the first and is very detailed. There are also other dresses that are a combination of both the kaftan and the takshita. In addition, Hayat expresses that she wears the abaya at times as well, which is a modest, long, black dress and the jilaba which is a plain light colored modest dress when she attends services at the mosque. Hayat wears her traditional Moroccan clothing on occasions such as weddings or even the religious holiday, Eid.

Hayat states, “I feel really good, I love my clothing! It has a lot of style and culture and I grew up with this style of clothing.”

On a daily basis Hayat dresses in what she calls, “normal clothing” such as jeans and long modest shirts, dresses or skirts. Hayat already purchases traditional Moroccan clothing for her children and will pass on her pieces to her daughters, just as her mother passed some pieces on to her. Her mother also wears traditional Moroccan clothing and prefers the more simple traditional clothing, the jilaba.