Rabat – Passers-by hardly set foot in the alleys of popular neighbourhoods in Moroccan cities these days until they are overwhelmed by pungent odors such as roasted flour, crushed almonds, fennel, anise, sesame and others, which are part of an annual spectacle of families' preparations for Ramadan, a cherished month that holds a special place for adults and children.

Despite the high prices in the Kingdom of Morocco – which included all items, especially food – families are keen to receive the month of Ramadan according to the rituals inherited from the ancestors, as the crisis – according to the Moroccan – is transient, but traditions do not neglect it.

Moroccan slaw is prepared weeks before the start of the Ramadan (Al Jazeera)

Sharing and economy

Fatima Al Mezkaldi and her daughters share tasks in preparing the famous Ramadan month of (safouf), one peeling boiled almonds, the other grinding toasted sesame, and the mother watching the oven where the flour is cooked.

The women of this family have dedicated the weekend to preparing a "slaw" dish, while their meeting will be next week to prepare the Chebakia dessert.

Fatima says to Al Jazeera Net, "Instead of preparing each of the ladies of the family dishes Ramadan alone we agreed to divide the value of the necessary ingredients and prepare them collectively."

Slo, Chebakiya, Mahnasha, Maqrout and Almond Briwat are among the dishes associated with Ramadan tables, and they are prepared and preserved in the month of Sha'ban, and these sweets and dishes take time to prepare large quantities of them that are consumed throughout the Ramadan, and also during Eid al-Fitr.

One of the shops selling pastilla leaf that Moroccan women buy in Ramadan to prepare Ramadan sweets (Al Jazeera)

Fatima (Fatima's daughter) regularly buys sweets and Ramadan dishes from professional women in this field, as she does not find enough time because she is busy with her job, home and raising children.

She tells Al Jazeera Net that Ramadan in the Moroccan popular memory is linked to many rituals and equipment supervised by women.

She added, "Sometimes I think of giving up some of these rituals, but I can't, and I find myself doing what I used to do annually, these rituals make me feel that Ramadan is a different and distinct month from the rest of the months, in which we fast and pray Taraweeh in mosques and gather with families, and also do not overload the dishes for this month and traditional clothes of all kinds."

Due to the wave of high prices that affected all materials, Mariam decided this year to find a solution that suits her family's financial situation, so she co-prepared Ramadan supplies with her mother and sister.

"3 kilograms of slaw would have cost me between $45 and $60 if I bought it in shops, but with my mother and sister in buying supplies and preparation, the same quantity cost me about $18," she explains.

"It's my way of circumventing the high cost of living," she adds with a triumphant smile.

Due to the wave of high prices, housewives chose to prepare Ramadan supplies collectively to reduce expenses (Al Jazeera)

Reduce expenses

As for Rahma Ater, she has another way of dealing with the wave of high prices, as she used to prepare everything she needed to rely on herself and her skills in the kitchen, which she did this year as well.

Rahma says to Al Jazeera Net, "I was in the past years preparing a large amount of each type of sweets Ramadan, but this year I decided to reduce the quantity and dealt with a kind of economy so as not to overload the atmosphere of the month of Ramadan, and consume as much as we need only."

While some Moroccan women prepare for Ramadan by preparing sweets and traditional dishes at home, others prefer to resort to shops specializing in these products.

Bushra Makkawi (owner of a shop that sells sweets, pies, slaw and everything related to Ramadan) has customers who have been used to her products for years.

In preparation for Ramadan, some Moroccan women prepare traditional sweets at home, others resort to specialized shops (Al Jazeera)

Bushra project affected by high prices, and tells with regret and disappointment how the high prices hit all materials, and multiplicity in her speech to Al Jazeera Net the value of increases between Shaaban last year and this period, to conclude that everything doubled.

This woman could not raise the prices of her products in proportion to the increases that included all the ingredients she needed in her manufacture, which reduced the profit margin, which decreased significantly, so she decided to add between half a dollar and a dollar per kilogram of each product so as not to lose her customers.

As for Boshra, all social classes were affected by the price crisis, which she notices through her dealings with loyal customers, as these did not give up the acquisition of her Ramadan products, but their purchases decreased compared to previous years.

"Some of my customers used to buy, for example, 7 kilograms of chebakia, now they are content with only 3 kilograms," she explains.

All social classes were affected by the crisis of high prices and purchases decreased compared to previous years (Al Jazeera)

Rituals are part of an identity

Dr. Ali Chaabani, a sociologist, stressed the keenness of Moroccan families to practice traditions and rituals associated with religious occasions in general, especially Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, al-Adha and Ashura, whether with regard to food, sweets, collectibles and clothing.

Al-Shabani explains in his speech to Al Jazeera Net that families find in attachment and adherence to those rituals and the revival of traditions a kind of self-realization.

"It is as if they want to stand out from the crowd by reviving ancient traditions," he said.

According to Chaâbani, Moroccans view all these practices as a heritage inherited from their ancestors, whether in its material or moral part, so they insist on preserving it, taking pride in it and considering it part of their identity.

"Although it is about food, clothing and material belongings, the Moroccan considers them part of his personality and identity, and if he abandons them, it is as if he has abandoned this identity," he added.

He points out that this concern and attachment to rituals and traditions does not fade in economic crises, but rather continues in some way, either by reducing the volume of spending or symbolically celebrating, but it is never abandoned.