The Ritual of Hammam

  • Traditions

In Morocco, the hammam is not only a religious ritual but also a social one. Every week, men and women, often accompanied by children, visit the traditional baths to cleanse themselves, have their skin massaged, and relax.

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The bath consists of three or four rooms with different temperatures. The session can last from 30 minutes to 1 hour or even longer, as the goal is to fully enjoy the benefits that dry heat provides to the body. Sweating prepares the skin for deep cleansing. After 15 minutes lying on the floor (according to Moroccan tradition) or on the bench, the entire body is covered with traditional black soap like a mask. This vegetable paste, made from pulp and black olive oil, often scented with eucalyptus, softens the skin and prepares it for exfoliation by swelling the dead cells, facilitating a deep exfoliation.

After exfoliation with a crêpe glove called “Kis,” the result is undeniable: exfoliation promotes perfect blood circulation and leads to firmer skin by stimulating collagen production.

For women, the ritual can extend to another treatment, that of wrapping with ghassoul (or rhassoul), a saponiferous clay from the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Ghassoul is of volcanic origin and is rich in minerals and trace elements. It should be left on for 15 minutes before rinsing. Ghassoul is in the form of a powder that is diluted in a little warm water before application. Today, ghassoul can be prepared with added macerated aromatic or medicinal plants and lavender essential oil. Ghassoul is also applied to the hair, giving it shine and flexibility without affecting the keratin. It has numerous properties for the skin, such as purifying, emollient, softening, and antioxidant effects. Ghassoul gives the skin a satin appearance thanks to its slightly foaming power, which promotes the penetration of the active ingredients in essential oils.

At the end of the session, ablutions take place, which are a spiritual purification ritual required as a prerequisite for prayer.

According to tradition, the future bride must enter with a candle in hand. Her body is bathed in milk and then wrapped in henna, a symbol of purification

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