Ramadan Vibes (Moroccan Arabic Lesson)

In this post, our good brother, Yassine, explains his Ramadan experience as a Moroccan now living in the United States. He talks about the different Ramadan foods and customs he enjoyed while living in Morocco, and what he has continued now in the United States.

His discussion of Ramadan customs includes the names of specific foods that Moroccans prepare during this month. We've included detailed descriptions of each of these and links to good recipes in the Vocabulary Review. Yassine also employs a lot of good conversational vocabulary.

We are looking forward to hearing from him again in the future, inshallah!


السلام عليكم
Salaam alaikom

Greetings of peace be upon you

ومرحبابكم في داري
wa marhbabikom fi dari

And, welcome to my home

رمضان مبارك سعيد إن شاء الله
Ramadan Mubarak Sa’id inshallah 
May you have a blessed and joyful Ramadan, God willing

نتمنى يدخل عليكم بالصحة والسلامة وغفران وتقبل منا الله صالح الأعمال
Ntammanna ydkhul alaikom bi sihha wa salaama wa ghufran wa taqabbal minna Allah Salih al-A'mal
May Ramadan come to you in health, safety and with God's forgiveness and may He accept our good deeds
سميتي ياسين، مغربي من مدينة سلا
Smiti Yassine, maghribi min madinat Sala

My name is Yassine, I am Moroccan and am from the city of Salé

مقيم في أمريكا هادي مدة تمانية سنوات
Muqim fi America hadi muddat tamaniyat sanawat

I've been living in America for the past eight years

ونهدر عليكم على شهر رمضان المبارك
ou nhadr alaikom ‘ala shahr ramadan al-mubarak 
I'm going to talk to you about the Holy Month of Ramadan

فالحمد لله كاين الفرق ولكن نحاولو نجيبو الطقوس ويعني التقالد ديالنا فين ما مشينا الحمد لله
fa al-hamdu lillah kayn lfarq wa lakinna n7owalu njibo ltuqus ou… ya3ni l-taqalid dialna fin mamshina l-hamdu lillah 
Praise God, there is a difference [between Ramadan in America and in Morocco]. Nonetheless, we try to brings our customs and traditions with us wherever we go, praise God.

من الناحية الدينية، فالقرآن والذكر والصلاة الحمد لله فين ما مشينا غادي تبقى معنا 
min al-na7iya l-diniyya, fa-l-quran wa l-dhikr wa l-sala alhamdulillah fin mamshina ghadi tabqa ma3na 
With respect to religion, the Quran, Remembrance and prayer -- Praise God -- wherever we go, that will stay with us

ولكن كاين شويا ديال الاختلاف من هنا حيت العادات
wa lakin kayn shwiya dial l-ikhtilaf min hnna 7it l-3adat 
However, beyond this, there is a slight difference with regard to Ramadan customs 

فمتلا من أين كنا صغار كنا تندوزو هكا مع الزنقة أو الشارعة فتنشمو ريحة ديال شباكية، ريحة ديال حريرة، ريحة ديال الرغايف، ديال مسمن تيطيب في الشارعة
fa matalan min-in kunna sighar kunna tandozo haka ma3 l-zanqa aw l-shari3a fa tanshammu ri7at dial shabbakiyya, ri7a dial 7arira, ri7a dial l-rghayif wa msemmon taytayyib fi l-shari3a

For example, when we were young, we used to pass through the streets and alleyways and smell the aroma of shabbakiyya, harira, raghayif and msemmon cooking in the street

وكاينا ديك الأجواء ديال الناس تتشوفهم سلام عليكم كل شي صايم
ou kayna dik al-ajwa’ dial l-nas tatchoufhom, salaam alaikom, kull shi sayim 
And there is the [Ramadan] atmosphere among people, you see each other [and say], 'Peace be upon you', and everyone is fasting 
فهدا الأمور ماكايناش في الغرب، ماكايناش في أمريكا، ولكن الحمد لله تنحاولو على أنا نجيبوها بالطرق ديالنا
fa hada l-umur makaynash fi l-gharb, makaynash fi america, wa lakin al-hamdulillah, tan7awalu 3la anna njiboha bi turuq dialna

This things don't exist in the West, or in America, however, Praise God, we try to bring them however we can

ضروري ما أننا تنوجّدو الحريرة ديالنا، ضروري ما أننا تنوجّدو الصفو ديالنا، نوجّدو الرغايف ديالنا، الشهيوات الصغار
Daruri ma annana tanwujjudou l-7arira dialna, daruri ma-anna-na tanwajjadu l-sfouf dialna, nwajjadu l-raghayif dialna, l-shiwat l-sighar 
Of course we prepare our own harira, sfouf, raghayif and other delicacies
فهداك تيبقى واحد جانب للي هو صغير من رمضان، فالحمد لله
fa hadak taybqa wa7id janib lli howa sghir min ramadan, fa al-hamdu lillah

So that small part of Ramadan remains, Praise God

يعني كاين أمور من الناحية الشخصية - التركيز على ما هو ديني زاد الحمد لله في أمريكا
ya3ni kayn umur, min l-na7iya al-shakhsiyya, l-tarkiz 3la ma howa dini zad l-hamdu lillah fi Amrika
Additionally, speaking personally, the focus on the religious aspects of Ramadan has increased [since arriving] in America, Praise God
تيبقانا نقص ديال الوالدين والأحباب والأصحاب ولكن فتنتونسو بالله عز وجل وهدا ما أهم وتنتونسو بالأسرة الصغيرة ديالنا، والله مالك الحمد
taybqana naqs dial walidin wa l-a7bab ou l-as7ab wa lakin… fa tantwunsu bi Allah 3azz wa Jall, wa hada ma ahamm, wa tantwunsu bi l-usra l-saghira dialna, wa Allahu malik al-hamd 

We still miss our parents, loved ones and friends, however we strive to keep company with God, the Mighty and Supreme - which is the most important - and with our small family, and to God belongs all Praise

فشكرا مرة أخرى لأنكم شوفتو لفيزيو، هادي غادي تكون بداية ديال سلسلة غادي يجيوكم إن شاء الله
fa shukran marra okhra li-annakom shofto l-video, hadi ghadi takon bidaya dial silsila ghadi yjioukom inshallah

Thank you again for watching the video. God willing, this will be the beginning of a series that will come to you.

السلام عليكم
Salaam alaikom

Greetings of peace be upon you

Vocabulary Review:
wa marhbabikom fi dari - Marhaba is one of Arabic's signature phrases, meaning "you're welcome." Yassine uses the Moroccan version of this phrase to welcome all of you into his home. Marhbabikom (pl.) or Marhbabik (sing.) can also be used in respond to another person's thanks, as in English.

Smiti Yassine - This is the most common and simplest form of introduction in Moroccan Arabic. Smiti is derived from the Classical Arabic word tasmiyya, and is closely related to the word ism or 'name', which is used in other Arabic dialects.

fin mamshina ghadi tabqa ma3na - This is another example of a fin mamsha construction, just as we discussed in the recent clip from Mama Hafeeda. This adverbial construction is comprised of fin, meaning "where", the preposition ma and the past tense verb msha. It means, "wherever (someone) goes." This specific phrase and other adverbial constructions like it are very common in Moroccan Arabic.

min-in kunna sighar - Here, Yassine uses the adverbial phrase min-in, or "from where" to mean "from whence" or "when (in the past)."

shabbakiyya, 7arira, l-rghayif, msemmon, l-sfouf - These are the names of specific foods, some of which are considered delicacies solely for the month of Ramadan:
  • shabbakiyya is a pastry consisting of an interlaced portion of fried dough that is soaked in cinnamon and honey. They are often topped with sesame seeds. The word shabbakiyya means "net-like", and these are special for Ramadan in Morocco. Here is a recipe from the eminent Christine Benlafquih: https://www.thespruceeats.com/moroccan-sesame-cookies-with-honey-2394409
  • 7arira is a tomato, chickpea and lentil soup that is traditionally served when Moroccan break their fasts at sunset, alongside shabbakiyya and dates. Outside of this ritual purpose, 7arira is a mainstay or Moroccan cuisine and is prepared year-round: https://www.thespruceeats.com/classic-moroccan-harira-soup-2394920
  • Sfouf, sellou and zmita are all names for a uniquely Moroccan confection that is made during Ramadan season. Christine Benlafquih defines it as: "a rich, nutty confection of ground fried almonds, ground toasted unhulled sesame seeds, and browned flour. Flavored with cinnamon and anise and sweetened with honey or sugar, sellou might be presented as a powdery, decorated cone; as a rounded, molded mound; or as compact bite-sized balls or squares." Read more here: https://tasteofmaroc.com/moroccan-sellou-recipe/
  • rghayif or meloui and msemmon are two types of Moroccan flatbreads that are prepared year-round and enjoy prominent status at the Moroccan iftar table. Both are made using flour, semoline and yeast, along with other ingredients. The main difference between these is in the folding and shaping of the dough. Rghayif and meloui are circular and their dough is rolled up in the shaping process. Hence the name meloui, derived from the Arabic verb "to roll up." Msemmon is square shaped and its dough is laminated through a series of foldings. Here are recipes for both: https://www.thespruceeats.com/moroccan-meloui-pancake-rghaif-2394809 and https://www.thespruceeats.com/msemen-moroccan-pancakes-rghaif-2394812 
tantwunsu - This was a new word for me! It is dervied from the root anasa, which relates to being sociable and friendly.


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