go to the hammam
2 h -3 h
In the background, women’s voices chanting and praising God, followed by loud ululations.
While, my cousin Rita and I are in the hottest room of the Hammam, where the vapor is so dense we can barely see each other and the heat so intense we forget to breath, a bride is entering.
She’s preceded by the neggafate*, who are praising God, calling His protection upon her and the future couple.
Rita and I can’t see them because they’re in another room but we know what’s going on.
The bride is getting ready to be the most beautiful and purest version of herself.
And there is no way she can get close to it without coming to the Hammam where she will spend about half a day.
Entering a hot and vapored room, body covered with dark soap** to open her pores and soften her dead skin.
Lying on a table where a woman massages her with a glove for a deep exfoliating scrub.
Like in orientalist pictures, she will be immobile and idle, giving her side, her back, her belly to the professional to massage and scrub her.
She’ll witness her dead skin fall on the table like thin and dark spaghetti.
Take a break and look around.
Wonder how her skin can be so dirty when she showers daily.
Forget about it because she’s getting lazier as times goes by.
Sprinkle water on her body.
Lye down and rest.
Lose track of time. In this steamy and blurred atmosphere, the world has become unreal.
Take another break and look at women around her.
Big feet. Long hair. Small or round breasts. Large bellies. Had Kids. No Kids. Everybody is different. And every body has a story.
Get a massage from the same professional who applies soap on her skin.
Wrap her body in ghassoul*, henna or chocolate for a deeper moisturizing treatment.
Take care of her hair.
Wash and massage her scalp.
Apply hydrating masks which penetrates deeply in the follicles helped by the steam.
Take another break.
Wash her body with water.
Followed by a cold flush to finally get enough energy to be able to leave.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a Moroccan bride to enjoy this unique, beautifying, detoxifying and relaxing treatment.
You just have to be in Morocco, drive for 20 minutes, meet with your cousin and give a fresh and clean start to your Friday.
neggafate*: women who take care of the bride’s preparation and beautifying process in Moroccan weddings.
dark soap*: black paste used as a soap, derived from olives.
ghassoul*: cosmetic made of natural mineral clay used for cleaning hair and skin
WHY IS IT SELF-CARE? Exfoliate your skin, relax, eliminate toxins and treat yourself with great scents and a unique experience. A few of the many benefits of going to the hammam.
MORE ABOUT THIS
I like this article from Moroccan Hammam, a Moroccan brand of skin care products with lots of tips for a succesful hammam session.