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Social Customs & Etiquettes in Morocco


The family is the most significant unit of Moroccan life and plays an important role in all social relations. The individual is always subordinate to the family or group. Nepotism is viewed positively, since it indicates patronage of one's family. The family consists of both the nuclear and the extended family. The elderly are revered and respected and often exert a great influence on the rest of the family.

Moroccans' most cherished possession is their honour and dignity, which reflects not only on themselves but on all members of their extended family. Moroccans will go out of their way to preserve their personal honour. Hshuma (shame) occurs when other people know that they have behaved inappropriately. A Moroccan's sense of self-worth is externally focused, so the way others see them is of paramount importance. If someone is shamed, they may be ostracised by society, or even worse by their family. To avoid hshuma, many Moroccans will say or do things publicly because it makes them look good or helps them avoid embarrassment or awkwardness.

Meeting & Greeting

• When Moroccans greet each other they take their time and converse about their families, friends, and other general topics.

• Handshakes are the customary greeting between individuals of the same sex.

• Handshakes may be somewhat weak according to western standards.

• Once a relationship has developed, it is common to kiss on both cheeks, starting with the left cheek while shaking hands, men with men and women with women.

• In any greeting that does take place between men and women, the woman must extend her hand first. If she does not, a man should bow his head in greeting.

• When entering a social function, shake hands with the person to your right and then continue around the room going from right to left.

• Say good-bye to each person individually when leaving.

Gift Giving Etiquette

• If you are invited to a Moroccan's home bring sweet pastries, nuts, figs, dates or flowers to the hostess.

• A small gift for the children is seen as a token of affection.

• Do not bring alcohol unless you know that your host drinks.

• Gifts are not opened when received.

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