Saturday, November 28, 2015

Familly Ties in Morocco

Familly Ties in Morocco
People gather around the silver-plated tea tray - with cups varying in size and color along with a pot holding their national Moroccan green tea - to have warm chitchats, and express their worries and fears.

Image result for Moroccan family ties imagesThis round tray is adornded with intricate geometric shapes, including a hexagonal star that is the distinctive mark of Jewish silversmiths dominating the Moroccan market. The tray is usually accompanied by another smaller tray carrying jars that contain tea leaves, and a boiler.

The tray is called "White" by some, after the Italian man who introduced it to Morocco back in 18th century. White was known for his premium quality goods.

Every Moroccan house has a tea tray ready to be presented to guests, and some place it as part of house decoration. Larger Moroccan houses have special tea room used to receive guests.

In the southern parts of the country, trays vary in the items displayed depending on the time of the day they are presented.

Some strict traditions and rituals are associated with the tea tray gatherings and a staff member is appointed to oversee every small detail to ensure that the gathering is in line with the set rules of tradition.Image result for Moroccan family ties images

First there is Gaed Al-Siniya (tray leader), that is the person assigned to supervise the gathering and making sure that everything is going smoothly and according to the book.

The second and more prominent staff member is Al-Gayem (the person serving tea to the group). This assignment requires tidiness and courtesy as the server should be neat, well-presented, educated, sharp and should master the art of entertaining the crowd through reciting poetry or narrating stories.

In the southern parts of Morocco where the majority of population are Bedouins, tea tray gatherings are governed by the rule of the three "Js" that is Jama'a (the group), Jamr (coal used to heat water), and Jar (prolonged gathering).

The server elected by the group should meet the group's expectations, said Moroccan researcher and poet Ham bin Balaayil in a statement to KUNA.

He is not allowed to leave the session before performing his duty, which includes keeping the tray clean as spilling is not tolerated while entertaining the group, Bin Balaayil said.

The server should also draw a mental map of the cups he serves as he is to remember every cup and the person of which the cup belongs to, he said.

He is not is not entitled to assign someone else to cover for him, and if he breaks one of the rules he is to present his group with a slaughtered camel, if not, pay the amount in cash, Bin Al-Balaayil added.Image result for Moroccan family ties images

The cleanliness and neatness required in the tea tray gatherings are influenced by the Sufi doctrine, he said.

Manners are also observed so that elderly are to drink first and servers last whereas in-laws are not to sit at the same tray.

As for the northern parts of the nation, the luxurious touch is showcased through the use of pricy trays, boilers and cups along the use of aromatic herbs added to the green tea such as rose, mint, and saffron, as well as serving the traditional almond filled dough dessert of 'Kaab Al-Gazal'.

Abdulaati Aayat Hasayin, an Imam and a tea tray server, said that due to modernization and globalization people now were too busy to attend tea gatherings, and instead prefer to go to the many cafes that serve "tasteless" tea.

He recalled the old times when the tea tray gatherings were so dominant that when the server failed to entertain his group he became a mockery.

These get-togethers, although less dominant these days, have not lost their charm and still play an essential role in strengthening familial ties and in showcasing the society's solidarity. (KUNA)

Sarah Khan

Global Arab Network