Magic and Superstition in Marrakech’s Djemaa l’Fna Square


Amid the narrow cobbled streets and red-tinted buildings of Marrakech’s old town sprawls a multicoloured oasis. This is the city’s well-known square and market place identified as Djemaa l’Fna. Right after dark, this patch of the old quarter becomes overtaken by performing musicians and storytellers of the market place, attracting eager crowds nightly. From the onset of dusk, senses turn into overwhelmed by smells of sizzling lamb and harira soup floating from the meals stalls and blending with the lutes and drums of the open-air g’naoua performers. (Locate out specifically what’s on give at dinner time by reading my post on Consuming Like a Nearby in Marrakech).

But some street vendors handle to stand out amongst the hustle bustle namely, the snake charmers and the seers identified as shawafas, who set up shop beneath parasols all about the square. Getting on the square at this time not only feels magical – it also reflects the magical beliefs of Moroccan folklore and superstition.

The Evil Eye and Other Superstitions

Ostrich eggs and other herbal treatments utilised to ward off the evil eye (Supply: Wikimedia CC)

In Morocco, as in numerous other North African nations, numerous individuals nonetheless think in the evil eye that is, terrible luck imposed on an individual by a jealous rival’s gaze. Though black magic is largely looked down upon in Moroccan society, there are nonetheless sorcerers and witch-physicians to be discovered all more than Djemaa l’fna who guarantee herbal treatments to ward off the evil eye. You will uncover something from ostrich eggs to particular serums that claim to facilitate circumstances from indigestion to impotence. You will also notice the symbol of Fatima’s hand – an ornate drawing of a hand with a supple thumb, ordinarily decorated in henna – utilised on doorknobs, dwelling entrances in the old town, and as jewellery charms serving to shield from such evil omens.

The Option Therapy of Shawafas

Fortune teller in Djemaa el’Fna Square (Supply: Flickr CC)

Since Morocco is a reasonably poor nation, a great deal of the population can not afford fundamental healthcare and hence relies on option forms of medicine, some of which are embedded in folkloric tradition. Fortune tellers are sometimes summoned as somewhat of an equivalent of witch physicians, serving mainly to aid individuals alleviate psychological and emotional burdens by way of ritualistic indicates. Shawafas purport to inform the future with talismans in a equivalent way to how western tarot readings use 14th-century cards from the Minor and Main Arcana to predict life events by searching at their placement on a spread. Even so, shawafas are also identified to carry out black magic rituals akin to witchcraft working with herbal mixtures to cast spells they claim will manage people’s will and destiny in appreciate, wellbeing, and fortune. This type of black magic is deemed largely taboo by numerous.

It is also great to preserve in thoughts that for Moroccans the typical cost for a visitation is 20dh, when vacationers are most likely to be charged at least double that quantity upon very first make contact with in Djemaa l’Fna.

Snake Charmers

snake charmers in marrakech

Snake charmers in Djemaa el’Fna Square (Supply: Wikimedia CC)

Snake charmers are not possible to miss on the open square and ordinarily use an instrument named ghayata to enchant their reptiles. Historically, snake charmers had been believed to be healers and worked as nomads, travelling from location to location to trade in snake oil and show off their mastery by way of different types of overall performance. There are legends of snake charmers performing outlandish acrobatics, such as swallowing a snake headfirst, but right here you are not most likely to see something rather as intense. The snake charmers of Djemma l’Fna usually have cobras on show with the venom extracted for security factors. One unwelcome trick to appear out for is getting a cobra thrown about your shoulders unannounced in exchange for income! Fortunately, that is the only type of harmful black magic about right here.

For extra pictures of Marrakech, verify out my post, 25 pictures that will inspire you to check out Marrakech.

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