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Moroccans (Arabic: المغاربة al-Maġāriba, Berber: ⵉⵎⵖⵕⴰⴱⵉⵢⵏ Imɣṛabiyen), are a Maghrebi ethnic group inhabiting or originating from Morocco that share a common Moroccan culture and Maghrebi ancestry. The overwhelming majority of Moroccans are of Arab-Berber descent; however, many identify as Arabs or Arabized Berbers.
In addition to the 36 million Moroccans in Morocco, there is a large Moroccan diaspora in France, Belgium, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, and a smaller one in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, the Arabian Peninsula and in other Arab states. A sizeable part of the Moroccan diaspora is composed of Moroccan Jews.
The first anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) in North Africa are the makers of the Aterian, a Middle Stone Age (or Middle Palaeolithic) stone tool culture. The earliest Aterian lithic assemblages date to around 145,000 years ago, and were discovered at the site of Ifri n'Ammar in Morocco. This industry was followed by the Iberomaurusian culture, a backed bladelet industry found throughout the Maghreb. It was originally described in 1909 at the site of Abri Mouillah. Other names for this Cro-Magnon-associated culture include Mouillian and Oranian. The Epipaleolithic Iberomaurusian makers were centred in prehistoric sites, such as Taforalt and Mechta-Afalou. They were succeeded by the Capsians. The Capsian culture is often thought to have arrived in Africa from the Near East, although it is also suggested that the Iberomaurusians may have been the progenitors of the Capsians. Around 5000 BC, the populations of North Africa were primarily descended from the makers of the Iberomaurusian and Capsian cultures, with a more recent intrusion associated with the Neolithic revolution. The proto-Berber tribes evolved from these prehistoric communities during the Late Bronze to Early Iron Age.
The Afroasiatic family may have originated in the Mesolithic period, perhaps in the context of the Capsian culture. By 5000 BC, the populations of Morocco were an amalgamation of Ibero-Maurisian and a minority of Capsian stock blended with a more recent intrusion associated with the Neolithic revolution. Out of these populations, the proto-Berber tribes formed during the late Paleolithic era.
A small minority of the population is identified as Haratin and Gnawa. These are sedentary agriculturalists of non-Berber origin, who inhabit the southern and eastern oases and speak either Berber or Moroccan Arabic.
Between the Nile and the Red Sea were living Arab tribes expelled from Arabia for their turbulence, Banu Hilal and Sulaym, who often plundered farming areas in the Nile Valley. According to Ibn Khaldun, whole tribes set off with women, children, ancestors, animals and camping equipment.
|Arabs (Morocco)||AA (Semitic)||49||—||85.5||—||0.0||20.4||—||—||0||0||—||Semino 2004|
|Berbers (Marrakesh)||AA (Berber)||29||—||92.9||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Semino et al. 2000|
|Berbers (Middle Atlas)||AA (Berber)||69||—||87.1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Cruciani et al. 2004|
|Berbers (Southern Morocco)||AA (Berber)||62||0||98.5%||—||0||0||0||0||—||—||0||Ahmed Reguig et al. 2014|
|Berbers (North central Morocco)||AA (Berber)||40||0||93.8||—||0||0||0||0||—||—||0||Alvarez et al. 2009|
|Riffians (North Morocco)||AA (Berber)||54||0||95.9||—||0||0||0||0||—||—||0||Dugoujon et al. 2005|
|Béni-Snassen (Northern Morocco)||AA (Berber) & (Semitic)||67||0||95.1||—||0||0||0||0||—||—||0||Dugoujon et al. 2005|
Through Moroccan history, the country had many cultural influences (Europe, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa). The culture of Morocco shares similar traits with those of neighboring countries, particularly Algeria and Tunisia and to a certain extent Spain.
Each region possesses its own uniqueness, contributing to the national culture. Morocco has set among its top priorities the protection of its diversity and the preservation of its cultural heritage.
The traditional dress for men and women is called djellaba, a long, loose, hooded garment with full sleeves. For special occasions, men also wear a red cap called a bernousse, more commonly known as a fez. Women wear kaftans decorated with ornaments. Nearly all men, and most women, wear balgha (بلغه). These are soft leather slippers with no heel, often dyed yellow. Women also wear high-heeled sandals, often with silver or gold tinsel.
Moroccan style is a new trend in decoration, which takes its roots from Moorish architecture. It has been made popular by the vogue of riad renovation in Marrakech. Dar is the name given to one of the most common types of domestic structures in Morocco; it is a home found in a medina, or walled urban area of a city. Most Moroccan homes traditionally adhere to the Dar al-Islam, a series of tenets on Islamic domestic life. Dar exteriors are typically devoid of ornamentation and windows, except occasional small openings in secondary quarters, such as stairways and service areas. These piercings provide light and ventilation.
Moroccan cuisine primarily consists of a blend of Berber, Moorish and Arab influences. It is known for dishes like couscous and pastilla, among others. Spices such as cinnamon are also used in Moroccan cooking. Sweets like halwa are popular, as well as other confections. Cuisines from neighbouring areas have also influenced the country's culinary traditions.
Additionally, Moroccan craftsmanship has a rich tradition of jewellery-making, pottery, leather-work and woodwork.
The music of Morocco ranges and differs according to the various areas of the country. Moroccan music has a variety of styles from complex sophisticated orchestral music to simple music involving only voice and drums. There are three varieties of Berber folk music: village and ritual music, and the music performed by professional musicians. Chaabi (الشعبي) is a music consisting of numerous varieties which descend from the multifarious forms of Moroccan folk music. Chaabi was originally performed in markets, but is now found at any celebration or meeting. Gnawa is a form of music that is mystical. It was gradually brought to Morocco by the Gnawa and later became part of the Moroccan tradition. Sufi brotherhoods (tarikas) are common in Morocco, and music is an integral part of their spiritual tradition. This music is an attempt at reaching a trance state which inspires mystical ecstasy.
The majority of the population speaks Moroccan Arabic. More than 12 million Moroccans speak Berber varieties, either as a first language or bilingually with Moroccan Arabic. Three different Berber dialects are spoken: Riff, Shilha (Chleuh) and Central Atlas Tamazight.
Hassaniya Arabic is spoken in the southern part of the country. Morocco has recently included the protection of Hassaniya in the constitution as part of the July 2011 reforms.
Spanish is also spoken by some in the northern part of the country as a foreign language. Meanwhile, English is increasingly becoming more popular among the educated, particularly in the science fields.
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