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Rituals at the Hammam

2 weeks ago by

It’s practically impossible to go to Morocco without at least talking about (if not experiencing) the ritual of the Hammam. And it’s no stranger to the site—Garance has talked about her bathing rituals, some of which are definitely derived from the Moroccan women in her life, here before.

In Morocco and other Islamic countries, the hammam is not only cleansing and relaxing, but it’s also social. It’s a place where women go to cleanse and catch up with friends. I’ve always found the tradition of a spa or bath house to be incredibly beautiful—to be together and totally comfortable with other women, nude and celebrating all different types of bodies, while practicing self-care. It seems like such a wonderful luxury.

beauty hammam rituals morocco atelier dore photo

beauty hammam rituals morocco atelier dore photo

When we were working on products for our Morocco shop, we spoke with both Jamie from Stories & Objects, and Vanessa from Chabi Chic, to create products that could be integrated into a personal hammam ritual—which focuses on cleansing the body from head to toe. We asked Diane, the head of the Spa at El Fenn, to explain the tradition of the hammam in her words.

Rituals at the Hammam

Can you explain the ritual of the hammam?
Hammams, rhassouls, and serails are different kinds of steam rooms used for traditional cleansing rituals. A hammam ritual is an Arabian body treatment involving steam and cleansing black soap. In the hammam, your body is cleansed from head to toe. The ritual takes place in a humid steam chamber, a hammam attendant will douse you with water before applying the black soap to your skin and exfoliating it with a kessa glove.

Can you give some background on the ritual, historically?
The hammam ritual is a venerated Moroccan tradition, which has endured for centuries into the present day. Even now, thousands of Moroccans attend their local hammams weekly to cleanse themselves and enjoy a little bit of socializing and gossip on the side.

Why is it important in Moroccan culture?
Moroccan people go to the hammam to catch up with friends and socialize. Going to the hammam is a very important ritual in the Muslim culture. The bathing and cleansing is an integral part of a Muslim’s life, also because water is considered sacred in the Islam. The hammam is probably the oldest surviving bath tradition in the world.

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Rituals at the Hammam
Rituals at the Hammam

You can find our body set and argan body oil in our Marrakech shop! Photos taken at the Spa at La Mamounia, where we experienced a truly luxurious hammam experience- complete with the steamy scent of rose, clay masks and of course a black soap scrub down.

10 comments

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  • Cette photo d’ouverture est tout simplement magnifique !
    j’adore les produits Ahava, étant en France je les achète ici (ça se trouve pas partout ;) http://www.rosemari.fr/collection/ahava/
    Merci pour ce beau riuel beauté, trop envie de retourner au Maroc…
    Bises a l’atelier

  • I had been to the hammam at the Grande Mosquée de Paris several times before I went to one in Marrakesh. I was on a tour with Nouvelles Frontières and arrived a few days early. The guide company sent me to a hammam out in the suburbs, where “real” Moroccans went–cleaner than the ones frequented by tourists, they said. It was completely different from Paris, full of women of all ages (not just young, beautiful Parisians) and hordes of kids. It was joyful. I came out with skin as soft as a baby’s.

  • Ouuh ! Vous me donnez envie d’un bon hammam par ce temps froid ! Brrr

    Les photos sont géniales ! ^^

    Merci pour le partage,

    xoxo

  • These photos are stunning! My first hammam happened in Morocco and it was an experience I will never forget. It was eye opening seeing how all the women were so comfortable with their bodies. Being from the US where being naked around other women was practically nonexistent, it was so refreshing and liberating. It is really a lovely and beautiful tradition. And the amount of skin they scraped off my body was shocking! I don’t think I’ve ever been so baby smooth.

  • Ces superbes photos (la premiere !) m’ont donne envie d’aller au hamamm. Faute d’en trouver un dans le sud de la Floride, je vais de ce pas dans ma salle de bains pour un bon “scrubing”. :-)))

  • I’ve never been to a hammam (or Morocco) but it does seem amazing and I love how it’s such a social thing!

    https://thedianaedition.com

  • The sauna in Estonia is a very similar thing.
    I think that here it was an essential in the old times as the climate is cold. So the hot sauna was the only warm place. And the online place where you could wash yourself in the old times.
    Women also gave birth in the sauna!

    Nowadays the sauna here is also a social place. But I actually enjoy going alone and just relaxing. :)

    It’s hard to find an Estonian who doesn’t like the sauna. :)

    https://sofaundermapletree.wordpress.com

  • I often travel to Morocco, but I don’t like traditional hammams for one thing : the elder boys (they go to the hammam with their mothers until 7 or 8).
    I really find it annoying, they are really too old and look at women in a non innocent way. And for knowing guys from Morocco as friends, they remember their hammam days and the feeling, not of lust, bus something clearly not innocent. And it really plays a role in the way north african societies and men relate with women bodies.

  • Beautiful photos!
    I have followed your moroccan retreat all along, seemed very inspiring, although i found it quite weird coming to Morocco and only interacting with expats, no locals. I am sure Diane is passionate about moroccan hammam, but i do not think she is fit to explain certain aspects of it (culture, religion wise…). It has an aftertaste of cultural appropriation.

  • C’est effectivement un moment à apprécier. Le cadre, l’ambiance, le rituel, les gestes… J’adore.

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