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The Cultural Setting of the Stories

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Chapter Summary

Chaouen is known as the Sacred and Mysterious, a city of Saints and Šǔrfa because of its great number of shrines and its historically deeply-rooted traditions of mysticism. In Chaouen the wedding of the bride is preceded by a day at the hammam: all the women of the family or close to the family gather on that day to take the bride to the hammam, at the groom's expense. Henna appears frequently in the woman's stories. The henna plant, produces a dye which gives a reddish-orange color of varying intensity. It was known and used in ancient Egypt, and subsequently by the Muslims, who call it nūr n-nbi "the light of the Prophet". Măxzən appears in the man's stories, and alludes to the central Government and everything connected with it, including the Sharīfian administration. The Jewish community in Chaouen had close links to the larger one in Tetuan.

Keywords: Chaouen; Egypt; henna; Jewish community; Măxzən

10.1163/9789004279131_003
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