“Do you want a Christmas tree?”, a salesman told a curious passersby. Florists in Maarif, the central district of Casablanca, prefer to sell fir trees during this period of the year to go hand in hand with the demands of those who celebrate Christmas in the city.
“We sell a lot of things during the festive period”, explained Youssef, a salesman who works for Swatch store. “We make a special decoration for Christmas and Valentine’s Day” says Hassani, a saleswoman in “Lingerie Valège-Paris”, a lingerie boutique at the Twin Center in Casablanca.
Especially to please the children
Christmas is there to please the children first and foremost. “La Grande Récré” toy store, decorations are only beginning to be installed. “Since the opening of the store in 2005, our turnover at the Christmas period has gone up, but this year we have not had many customers yet”, Khalid, one of the sellers, said.
“I came to buy Christmas gifts for my two children”, said a customer who lives in the United States. “This holiday is not religious, it is simply an opportunity to celebrate with family and to give gifts to children”, the man added.
Those who celebrate Christmas in Morocco often have closer ties with others in Europe or North America. Mohamed is a happy grandfather, he cameback from France where his daughter lives. “She still blames me today for telling her that Santa Claus did not exist.”
Ryme and Soukaina, 16 and 17 years old, believe that they are westernized because they study at the French school of Casablanca.
“We celebrate Christmas with family and friends around the fir tree, but we do not do it systematically every year and especially we choose the day that suits us. If Christmas falls on a Sunday, we’ll have a party on Saturday night, because it’s more convenient.”
An opportunity to party
For young people, Christmas and New Year’s eve, are an excuse to party. “With Christian friends from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Belgium, we often have a night out in a four-star hotel on the 3rd of December”, says Akram, salesman in Casablanca.
Halima a 24-year-old student and her sister Mounia, meet with their family on the 31st of December. “There is a fir tree, the log, and as in France we offer gifts”, they said. “it’s my birthday on the 20th of December, so we try to do everything at the same time”, says Mounia. “I also take this opportunity to go clubbing with friends”, concluded Halima.