French in Morocco

Greetings and Partings

A person kissing another on the cheek

There are numerous versions of greetings and partings in Morocco, depending on the style and religious orientation of the individual. When a traveler is uncertain as to the protocol of a given situation, it is best to take one’s cues from the other person.

Two men greeting one another will at least shake hands. If they are close friends and have not seen one another in a while, they may also kiss one another once on each cheek. Women greeting each other will kiss each other on both cheeks.

Greetings between men and women are more varied depending on the individuals. A conservative greeting would be a handshake, while among more western-oriented friends, a kiss on each cheek is acceptable. Among very conservative Muslims, unrelated males and females will not ordinarily shake hands. A verbal greeting will suffice in this case.

Similar rules apply to greetings between elders and younger persons. In situations requiring formality, a handshake is usually appropriate. Between relatives or close friends, a kiss on each cheek is appropriate. When one is greeting an elder deserving special respect, such as a grandmother or grandfather, often the younger person will kiss the elder’s hand.

Partings tend to be the same as greetings; however, when one is in a large group, it is permissible to simply say goodbye to the group as a whole.