Berber Women Try to Keep Rug Making Alive, Profitable

. Moroccan Rugs – General Information Morocco’s history, and the story of Moroccan weaving begins with the Berbers, the indigenous people of North Africa who had inhabited Morocco for centuries before the first Arab invasion in the seventh century. Today, the major weaving groups of the Middle Atlas and High Atlas mountains are Berber tribes, many of whom still live much as they did centuries earlier.

While remarkably diverse, Moroccan flatwoven and knotted pile rugs are almost without exception bold in color and lively in pattern. Designs are made up of geometric motifs arranged in seemingly endless variations. Each tribe has its own distinct repertoire of designs and colors significant to the ceremonial and day to day life of the group. These same patterns can be seen in the art forms relating to other areas of tribal life such as in ceramics, architectural decoration, and tattoos worn by Berber women. Although a weaver draws from the vocabulary of designs particular to her tribe, she works at her loom without a diagram or pattern to guide her. As a result, each rug is a unique creation, a celebration both of her tribal identity and her own artistic imagination.
II. Moroccan Rugs and 20th Century Design
The colors of North Africa have been celebrated for centuries by well known fine artists from the west – Delacroix, Matisse, Klee come immediately to mind. Somewhat less widely known but no less significant is the historic connection between Moroccan art, and rugs in particular, and 20th century western design. From Europe and the Bauhaus to 1960’s and 70s American designers like Billy Baldwin, the simple geometric patterns of Moroccan carpets have long been used to enhance sophisticated modern furnishings and interiors. Pile carpets from the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco can be found in well known historic houses such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Charles and Ray Eames Pacific Palisades house in California. The late nineteen nineties have brought about a renewed appreciation for mid-century modernism as well as elements of sixties and seventies style and color. The brightness and warmth of oranges and saffron yellows in Morocco’s High Atlas rugs or the neutral beige ground Beni Ouarain rugs, their thick pile sometimes reminiscent of sixties shag, are still accessible and are being utilized anew in contemporary interiors. With their had spun wool and authentic indigenous character, these one-of-a-kind rugs have an organic quality not found in their factory made counterparts from other areas of the world.

How to Preserve Your Culture

How to Preserve Your Culture

Look at any object in your house, meal you eat, or gesture you use, and you’ll find evidence of culture. Cultural traditions and perspectives have shaped who you are. Learn more about them and how you can keep them strong.
1. Participating in Traditions

Learn about religious traditions. Whether or not you share your parents’ and grandparents’ religion, studying it can help you understand their culture. Religion connects to language, history, and personal behavior. Becoming more familiar with your or your family’s religion can help you understand all these other aspects.[1]

  • Sacred texts and ceremonies can seem confusing with no one there to guide you. Find an expert willing to explain their significance. Read a copy of the text with footnote discussions.
  • 2
    Speak your ancestral language. If you know someone who Image titled Preserve Your Culture Step 2
  • shares you culture but has a different native tongue than yourself, ask him to teach you. Many linguists and anthropologists argue that language shapes our whole perception of the world. Plus, if the language is rare in your area, nobody will be able to eavesdrop on your conversations!

    • Thousands of languages are at risk of extinction.[2] If you know one of them, teach it to others. Share examples of the knowledge and perspective that would be lost if it goes away. Record the language spoken and written (if possible), and work on translations to less endangered languages.
    • 3
      Cook family recipes. It’s never too late to whip up some recipes from your grandmother’s cookbook. Smell and taste have powerful connections to memory.[3]As you knead dough or try to guess the right amount of spices, you might remember meals from you childhood or holidays. Just reading a recipe can teach you how much ingredients and kitchen tools have changed. And even if some of them are unfamiliar, others have most likely become your comfort food or a source of family pride.

      • If you don’t have family recipes, look for old cookbooks online or at flea markets.[4]You could even start your own by writing down recipes .
        4 .Share your culture’s art and technology. Each culture has its own clothing, music, visual art, storytelling traditions, an many more unique characteristics. Other members of your culture will be overjoyed to teach or talk about their hobbies, their jobs, their crafts, and what they do for fun. This includes traditional artwork you would find in a museum, but material culture goes far beyond that. Even a kitchen spoon or a piece of software is a cultural artifact.

        • People with less sophisticated technology are often considered ignorant or less intelligent. This is completely wrong. Culture passes on tools adapted to a particular environment, and every tool has generations of thinking behind it.[5]Shaping a stone tool is one of the oldest cultural practices there is, and it still takes great skill and knowledge.

        shared orally by your relatives.

      • 5
        Spend time with other members of the community. The best way to preserve your culture is to keep it alive. Gather as a group not just for holidays, but for ordinary meals, events, or just conversation. Many aspects of culture are difficult to learn in books and museums, including etiquette, body language, and humor.

        • Think about the types of conversations you have within your culture, compared to the mainstream culture where you live. (Or compare two different cultures you participate in.) Does one feel more energetic or friendly than another? Would a normal statement in one context be considered rude in another? Why do you think that is? This kind of deep analysis can be tough to figure out, but it gets to the core of the cultural experience.
        Attend or organize major events. Your country, tribe, religious denomination, or immigrant ethnic group almost certainly celebrate major holidays or cultural festivals. Travel to these to get a broader perspective on your culture. If you don’t know of any groups in your area, organize your own event.
      Part 2:Recording Your Culture
    • 1
      Choose a focus. You can record anything you’ve discovered through your research and life, no matter how small it seems. What you can’t do is write down everything there is to know about a culture. There’s just too much to say. Most people choose one of two directions instead:

      • A personal history of one’s own experience, or a family’s.
      • A detailed look at one aspect of the culture: cooking, jokes, or any other subtopic.
      Decide on a medium. You can use calligraphy, oral storytelling, or another traditional medium to make the recording a personal cultural experience as well. Or you can put your work on a website, DVD, or another digital form. This lets you share your cultural story with people from all around the world.
    Conduct interviews. Interview the people whose histories you’re telling, or experts in the subject you’re writing about. Come prepared with a list of questions, but let the interviewee to wander to other topics and stories.[6] You may learn something you would never think to ask about.

    • Keep each interview within one or two hours. If the interviewee is willing, return to conduct additional interviews. This lets you prepare more questions, and lets the interviewee search for documents or objects she wants to share.
    • Use a video or audio recorder if the interviewee agrees to it. These are much more accurate than trying to write everything down or hold it in your head.
    Follow your family tree. Record your family tree with the help of family members, adding to it as you go along. There are probably whole branches of cousins and in-laws you’ve never met. Track these down through family connections or online searches, and they may offer whole new perspectives on your culture. Government websites and physical record collections may offer additional information dating back centuries.[7]

    • Ask family for scrapbooks, journals, and other records early on. You may discover that someone else has started the work for you.[8]
    Use your records to fight for your culture. Minority cultures often struggle to pass on cultural traditions. Share your stories and records with young people in your culture, who may not know the riches of their cultural background. In the face of political struggles or social challenges, organize people to participate in discussions and cultural activities. Your research can help people understand the core values of their culture, and inspire them to keep it alive and
  • 6
    Accept change. The dialogue around passing on culture often sounds defeatist. Cultures are “endangered” or need “preserving” before they die out. Real challenges and threats do exist, but don’t assume that all change is bad. Culture helps people adapt to the world around them. The world has always been changing, cultures have always been adapting, and it’s up to you to choose a direction you can be proud of.[9]
 Source :

The Importance of Cultural Heritage

The Importance of Cultural Heritage

Not everyone feels a connection with their cultural heritage, but many people do. What is it about cultural heritage that draws these people to it? Some may think traditions are archaic and no longer relevant, and that they are unnecessary during these modern times. Perhaps for some, they aren’t; but for others, exploring cultural heritage offers a robust variety of benefits.
Culture can give people a connection to certain social values, beliefs, religions and customs. It allows them to identify with others of similar mindsets and backgrounds. Cultural heritage can provide an automatic sense of unity and belonging within a group and allows us to better understand previous generations and the history of where we come from.

Flags of many nations

In large cities especially, it can be easy to feel lost and alone among so many other cultures and backgrounds. New York City, for example, is a huge melting pot of people from all over the country and the world. There are large communities based around certain cultural heritages, including Irish, Italian, Asian, and others.
Another benefit that comes from preserving cultural heritage as a whole is the communal support. Those that identify strongly with a certain heritage are often more likely to help out others in that same community. Real estate mogul Carl Mattone and his family, for example, are often sighted at fundraisers for local Catholic schools. Mattone was raised Catholic and attended Holy Cross High School in New York, where he has also been on the Board of Directors.
Cultural heritage is made up of many things large and small. We can see it in the buildings, townscapes, and even in archaeological remains. Culture can be perceived through natural sources as well: the agriculture and landscapes associated with it. It is preserved through books, artifacts, objects, pictures, photographs, art, and oral tradition. Cultural heritage is in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the religions we follow, and the skills we learn. Sometimes we can touch and see what makes up a culture; other times it is intangible.

Understanding, Valuing, Caring, Enjoying

The Heritage Cycle from Simon Thurley helps explain the process of finding and incorporating culture into our lives, if we wish to do so. It begins with understanding the culture. Only then may we begin to value it. From there, we can learn to care for a culture and eventually enjoy it. With more enjoyment, we will want to learn and understand more—and so the circle goes.


30 Oct 2016 Leave a comment


Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future…

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Factors that Influence Voters During Presidential Elections

24 Oct 2016 Leave a comment

Instructor: Ashley Dugger

Ashley is an attorney. She has taught and written various introductory law courses.
Many factors influence voters during presidential elections. The voter’s background, party identification and view of the government’s past performance are some of the important influences. This lesson examines influences on voter behavior.

Voter Behavior

US Presidential Elections: Why California Is Important For The ...Did you vote in the last presidential election? If so, whom did you vote for, and why? Many different factors influence voters during presidential elections. Let’s take a look at voter behavior during presidential elections. The study of voter behavior is an examination of why people voted the way they did.
Many Americans closely follow political issues, but studies show that most do not. Most Americans therefore make their political decisions, and voting decisions, based on factors other than the issues.
These factors include:
  • The voter’s background and identification with the candidates
  • The voter’s party identification
  • The voter’s view of the incumbent’s previous performance
For many voters, their impressions regarding particular candidates and political parties are deep-rooted. Most voters already know how they will vote, even in the early stages of a campaign. It is rare for campaigns to change the minds of voters, though sometimes a campaign can successfully sway enough voters to influence the predicted outcome of an election.
Consider the 2012 presidential election. Various polls showed that only around 10% of registered voters claimed to be undecided in the two months prior to Election Day. Of those 10%, approximately 40% claimed to be leaning toward a particular candidate. Also note that, of those 10%, only 61% were classified as likely to vote at all.


A voter’s background has the largest influence on that voter’s decision. Voter background means the voter’s social identity, such as economic class, ethnicity, gender, race and religious preference. Often, a candidate will purposely gear campaign messages to particular voters, using a theme that conveys sameness. This sameness can be based on the general background, appearance or even the personality of the candidate. However, sometimes voters identify with a candidate even without that candidate purposely catering to commonality. Either way, voters tend to vote for the candidate that seems most like them.
For example, 95% of African-Americans who voted in the 2008 election voted for African-American candidate Barack Obama. Of those African-Americans who voted in the 2012 election, 93% voted for Obama’s reelection.
In the 2008 primary elections, more women than men voted for female candidate Hillary Clinton. However, female minorities still tended to vote for Obama and Obama won the Democratic nomination over Clinton.
In 1960, John F. Kennedy was poised to become our nation’s first elected Catholic president. He won, with nearly 78% of Catholic voters casting their votes for Kennedy.

Top Five Applications for Presidential Election 2016Party Identification

Now let’s take a look at the influence of a voter’s party. A voter’s party identification directly influences that voter’s decision. By party identification, we mean not just a voter’s party affiliation but also a voter’s psychological attachment to a particular political party. Notably, close to 90% of voters affiliated with a political party vote for that party’s candidate in presidential elections.
American voters tend to learn and adopt whichever party affiliation most influenced their childhoods. Those raised in a family of Democrats usually identify themselves as politically liberal, while those raised in a family of Republicans usually identify themselves as politically conservative.
However, this is not always the case. The number of voters identifying themselves as ‘Independent’ is on the rise, though 89% of those voters claim to lean toward a particular political party. Note that these Independents are almost as likely to support a political party’s candidate as those voters who openly affiliate themselves with that party.

Incumbent’s Performance

Next, let’s look at how incumbent status can influence a voter’s decision. A voter’s view of an incumbent’s previous performance greatly influences that voter’s decision. Most presidential elections feature an incumbent candidate. Incumbent refers to the candidate who currently holds that particular political office. Since Obama was elected president in 2008, he was an incumbent, seeking reelection, in 2012. Because a president is limited to serving no more than two terms, the 2016 presidential election will not feature an incumbent.
Unseating an incumbent president is difficult. For an incumbent to lose an election, some of the voters who voted for the incumbent in the previous election must switch allegiance.
Many voters view an incumbent’s performance based on the state of the national economy. When the economy is doing well, an incumbent has a good chance at reelection. The incumbent typically enjoys support from those affiliated with his or her party and will also gain the support of many Independents. However, when the economy is doing poorly, an incumbent might still enjoy support of those who identify with his or her party but won’t likely gain the support of Independents.

What is the Moroccan Identity?

22 Oct 2016 Leave a comment

maroc sasn complexes

By using the common Moroccan metaphor of “shlada” (salad), Living in Morocco attempts to figure out how Moroccan identity has evolved.
Shlada. It’s an Arabic word I learned early on in my time in Morocco, but not first for what the word actually means- salad, but for its metaphoric use to describe the Moroccan identity.
My husband’s family frequently asks me what I think of the Moroccan people, society and culture. It’s a risky question because if I say what I really think and my husband translates word for word, I could easily offend them. But, I’m often too honest for my own good. So, instead of coming up with a safe and diplomatic answer, I tell the truth of my observances and experiences since my arrival to Morocco in 2008.
“It’s confusing”, I start. “I see the older women wearing hijab and djallaba walking next to their teenage daughters dressed in the tightest western clothes possible and a lot of make-up. The daughter, rightfully passed the age when she also should be donning the hijab herself, is encouraged by her mother to buy more clothes and make-up. While you hear the calling for prayer in the streets, a Muslim has forgotten every single lesson in humanity from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and is gunning for you from behind the wheel of his car as you are trying to crossing the street. I guess I expected something different in a country of Muslims.”
When I feel myself going down a ranty path, I try to add in the difference in scenery and cities. “The landscape of the entire country is so different. There are tall, snow-capped mountains and oceans of sand in the desert…tropical paradises and beautiful beaches full of lush fertilization in the rainy seasons. All the cities have their own personalities and the way people live in Casablanca and Tangier is so completely opposite to the people in small villages and even the desert nomads. The whole country seems to be about opposition right down to the very earth it’s made of.”
I continue on, “The gap between rich and poor is so apparent here. There are the biggest villas in Soussi while there are shanties not more than two blocks from our own apartment. And there is all this modern technology, but so many people don’t even have a shower installed or running hot water in their homes…people have the latest cell phones and wireless internet on their laptops, but not hot water? I’m sorry, but this kind of doesn’t make sense to me. ”
And, then I go back to the Islam thing. “Why do people litter all over the streets, ruining the earth Allah has provided while they are saying ‘smillah before making any move?”
I go on, “the Moroccan people are known all over the world for their hospitality, but among each other that graciousness and generosity is missing.” I feel myself getting ready to relate my hammam tales of the times when I’m identified as an American and the times when I’ve blended into the crowd. A much different experience I assure you.
I can say more about the many differences I see in a society full of people mainly originating from one land, but I see they are getting my point and I finally finish with “I don’t know what to say about the Moroccan people, they aren’t at all “bad”, but maybe it’s a good example of how Westernization isn’t always such a good thing. The contradictions I see all seem to be related to modernization…” I trail off then. And finally, after all the translating is done, I hear them all mutter one word, “shlada.” The Moroccan identity is like a salad–mixed up, chopped up bits of different things thrown together in a bowl. They don’t say it with any animated excitement as if it’s a good thing. They aren’t offended by my views. At least, they don’t seem at all offended by my observations nor does my husband relate that anything I’ve said has hurt they’re feelings. Nothing I’ve said is meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’m just relating what I’ve witnessed and experienced here.
But, often the conversation ends there never going further into the idea of Moroccan identity, whether it’s modernization or something else that has blurred Moroccan identity to an outsiders view. But, as they move on to another conversation, I’m left wondering: what is the Moroccan identity? Was it ever something different or more definable than it is now? What would they like it to be? Yet, my family just seems to accept it and move on to the next topic of interest.
Do other Moroccans feel and think the same way about Moroccan society and culture? Would they agree with my observances and my family’s notion of shlada? If it’s something different then what they want, what exactly would they like it to be?

Source: Talk Morocco
Written by 


22 Oct 2016 Leave a comment

The origin carpet weaving by the Berber populations dates back several millenia. The hand spun cloth they created was named for the individual tribe, and they used natural fibers to create cloaks, rugs, and other fabrics.Image result for berber carpet designs and motifs meanings

Modern industrialized Berber carpets are distinguished by a loop pile construction type that gives a similar appearance to the distinct knot of traditionally woven Berber carpets. The modern carpets usually contain small flecks of dark color on lighter shades of background colors resembling a natural undyed version of the traditional carpets. They generally consist of a plain color mix with no pattern, and are relatively cheap and durable. Popular for areas with significantly heavy use such as offices. The distinctive knot texture and appearance of traditional hand-woven Berber carpets today are generally woven in brightly colored designs that are different from other oriental rugs.[4]

Handmade and usually homemade Berber carpets are still an active industry in many rural areas of Berber countries. Many Berber families earn their primary income from building-up carpets manually and selling them in local markets, merchants and tourists. Traditional Berber carpets differ from modern mass-produced Berber carpets that are usually found in industrialized markets. They often employ cultural designs and are typically made of natural materialsImage result for berber carpet designs and motifs meanings

Today, there are numerous types of modern Berber carpet made from a wide variety of materials, NylonOlefin fiber, and wool are the most frequently used materials, Except Tunisian Berber carpets and rugs usually called “Mergoum” which still preserve a know how inherited from ancestral weaving methods. Tunisian authorities are still controlling every piece to guarantee quality and that ‘Berber’ spirit in designs, patterns and symbols knotted so only wool is permitted with a total ban of any synthetic material, then each rug or carpet is sealed with a red wax sign (of Tunisian handicrafts authorities).

In other countries Olefin is the most frequently used and most affordable material, and carpets with blends of the different materials are also available.[5]

Berber carpet is highly durable and is often found in offices, schools, and other high traffic areas. It is stain resistant as well, and is generally more affordable than thicker plush carpets. To care about it is recommended by most professionals that Moroccan Olefin Berber should be cleaned using a low-moisture or dry cleaning process. Traditional steam cleaning with high alkaline detergents can cause potential pH burns in the olefin. These appear as large yellow or brown splotches. Yellow or brown spots also may be tannin bleed from the sugars in natural fiber carpets that are drawn to the top by improper drying usually caused by over wetting. There are carpet chemicals that can remove most of this yellowing or browning but they are very expensive, and it would be better to not get the yellowing or browning. A better, but more difficult, method may be to dry the carpet from the bottom. This method would generally require lifting up some of the carpet to install a carpet fan under the carpet, and using hot air, not just room temperature air. Regrettably, many of these stains can be permanent if not corrected immediately by a professional carpet cleaner. As with all carpets, Berber should be cleaned every 6 to 12 months to prevent permanent wear patterns.

( From Wikipidia)

Moroccan carpets are famous around the world. In the West, the tightly woven beige Berber rugs are found in most modern homes, schools and offices. Although these rugs are stain resistant their dark flecks of brown and tan do not compare to the thousands of intricate designs and colors of the traditional Berber carpets of Morocco.


Traditional Berber carpets contain distinctive patterns and colors and are woven from sheep wool or camel hair (you can also find them made from nylon and olefin material). The materials are hand-washed and naturally dyed from saffron yellow, to wild mint green, and from pomegranate and henna. These carpets are known for their strong geometric designs, and have been dated them as far back as the Merinid era. Carpets in the Middle Atlas generally have a traditional diamond grid.


The Berber tribes developed a variety of weaves to be adaptable to different climates. The rugs in the mountains have larger loops, are more loosely knotted to provide protection against the cold. In warmer climates the rugs are made with a finer weave. The carpets in the Middle Atlas were used as sleeping mats, and in regions with mild climates knots tend to be 2cm high.


Berber weaving is highly dependent on the female culture, and is passed down traditionally within the home. The young apprentice is expected to learn the the different looping techniques, patterns, color ranges and motifs. Historically women wove carpets for their families, and men traditionally produced carpets that were more specialized as professional masterweavers. These inspiring designs have been motivation for more modern carpet fabrication.

Historically carpets where a preferred gift for people in elite social classes and where used to adorn palaces and other sacred places. The more urban carpets have also been used at prayer mats and rugs in the hammam. Travelers who are interested in Berber carpet weaving should check out the Weavers Cooperative, and the Berber Carpet Demonstration, a famous exhibition. Some ancient Haouz rugs are also preserved in museums such as the Dar Batha Museum. These intricate rugs can be purchased from the tribes themselves but also in the winding souks of Fes,Marrakech and Rabat.

HaouzImage result for berber carpet designs and motifs meanings

Carpets originating in the hills and plains of the Haouz region do not tend to follow traditional designs or rules. In this region, the weavers stress the freedoms of the individual throughout the composition. The carpets have a distinctive style and are often captivating works of art.

Art Form

The bold colors, in depth patterns and weaving techniques of  different regions have their own distinct style. Each tribe has a signature pattern and commonly unfold a story, revealing acts of ceremony, or designs that often relate to fertility and protection. Like any other type of abstract art, interpretations can be better guided with additional knowledge of the culture, songs and legends.

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Google on call Travel Exploration at (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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