Monday, February 15, 2010
The Same Old Same Old
Time and time again, I am struck by the ‘sameness’ of everyday life here in the Medina. I think it might be the reason the culture has been so well preserved in this microcosm.
Everyday, I observe people following their routines. Shopkeepers display their wares in the same place everyday… patiently putting everything out in the morning and taking it back inside every evening. Restaurant menus do not alter. Fridays are for couscous. Bisarah is for breakfast. Every Ramadan, you’ll find dozens of shops springing up with mounds of the same honey pastries. One’s best kaftans and galabahs are brought out for fests. There is quite a variety of music but one hears the same songs over and over so everyone knows the words and can sing along. Even I know some of the refrains now. Religious holidays are celebrated in exactly the same way each time they come ‘round. Taxis go on strike twice a year. People pour into the Medina at 5:30 every evening for their daily constitutional. The routines are endlessly repeated and passed on to the next generation.
I recall watching a documentary on the Dalai Lama. He has been trying to preserve the Tibetan culture after the Chinese have done their best to eradicate it. His solution is to encourage the celebration of festivals where the people can sing and dance and prepare traditional food. This, he says, is the way to help preserve their culture and keep it from being absorbed until it’s no longer recognizable or distinctive.
Well, here in the Medina, the Moroccans are doing just that – every day, every ritual, every routine is an act of cultural preservation.
Posted by Water Dragon at 4:01 AM