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Why I Want to Teach My Kid His Cultural Heritage

Why I Want to Teach My Kid His Cultural Heritage

I grew up in a traditional riad built from scratch by my grandfather and uncle, brick after brick. I also grew up surrounded by women who loved art and craftsmanship expressed in traditional jewelry, handmade kaftans, and interior design.

My aunt’s sewing atelier was a favorite place to experiment with fabrics, yarn, and beads; this love for handmade crafts has stayed with me to this day.

Years later, I remember my young adult self feeling much inspired and eager to learn about Morocco’s history, architecture, and design, which always left me overwhelmed. There are only 24 hours a day, and I already had so much on my plate.

I quit my corporate job and started moroccanzest to learn more about a country I feel a deep love for – the country I left young, before being able to explore all the architecture, mountain villages, and spiritual festivals.

Working on moroccanzest allowed me to acquire the knowledge I would not now have had I stayed in Morocco. Although I’ve had some rocky days working on moroccanzest (thank you Covid!), now that I am a mother, I am grateful for every second spent learning about my country of birth.

I’ve been reflecting on this for the last few days. Here are three reasons it’s very important to teach children about their cultural heritage.

Why It's Important to Teach Children Their Family History and Cultural Heritage

1- Stories passed down are not always complete or accurate

This is so true. What your parents told you about your family, country, and history might not truly reflect reality. They might have the wrong information or are subjective, or simply the information was not available in their time. I learned through research that I have a Berber origin, which is a big deal for me and something I would have never considered growing up. Now I love to think that my attraction to colors, patterns and symbols may be due to my ancestors weaving beautiful colorful rugs for centuries.

Beautiful colorful rug from the Berber Azilal tribe in Morocco | moroccanzest archives

2- It makes you question your values and beliefs

For me, the best part about learning about Morocco’s history was learning about its cultural and spiritual festivals.

Let’s take the Imilchil Marriage Festival as an example. This festival is when Berber teenagers meet yearly to find love and get married. This may be intriguing, even shocking, to many – and for many reasons. Should we encourage teenagers to marry at such a young age? How can you allow – and encourage – your teenager to marry someone they met at a three-days festival? Etc. Etc. As a matter of fact, this is what’s inspiring about it. Those festivals make you question your ideals and values and realize there are still communities in the world that share very few of them. The Berber mountain dwellers attending the festival of Imilchil to marry their teenagers have a completely different lifestyle than ours. What makes them happy is not what makes us happy. Their life goals are not like our life goals; and that’s very refreshing and eye-opening.

A young teenager at the Imilchil Festival, probably checking a potential fiance

3- It gives you more occasions to celebrate people and life

Every year, Moroccans celebrate their religion and history during at least 13 different celebrations. And this does not count Friday, considered by Moroccans as a holy day rhythmed by the mid-day prayer and serving a large plate of couscous guaranteed to keep anyone full and happy the whole afternoon!

When I am not in Morocco, which is almost half of the year, It’s always a joy to receive celebration messages from family and friends still living in Morocco. A simple picture of the couscous will make my day and leave me with a beautiful feeling of belonging to more than one community. Teaching your child about their roots means sharing this beautiful feeling of belonging.

teach kids cultural heritage
Teaching my son about his roots, rural origins, and eating the Couscous for the first time

Safaa, founder of moroccanzest

From design and decor to food and travel, moroccanzest is the space where I share what I loved growing up in Morocco, and more. It’s your destination for everything beautiful, artistic, and made the Moroccan way with love. Learn more about me here.