Morocco events calendar: the best annual festivals
22nd June, 2016
Celebrating local culture, produce and religion, Morocco has
a variety of diverse festivals taking place across the year, meaning that it’s
great to visit any time of year to get involved with the traditional way of
life. Reflecting the country’s traditional Berber beliefs and Islamic Sufism,
each festival truly is an inspiring and interesting experience. Here’s our
favourite annual festivals put together into a handy calendar, all located near
our luxury villas in Morocco.
Almond Blossom Festival, Ameln Valley – At this time of
year, the Ameln Valley is carpeted with beautiful pink and white almond
blossoms, making it the perfect time to celebrate the plant coming into bloom.
During the festival, singing, dancing and almond tasting all travel from one
village to the next.
International Nomads Festival, M’hamid – First established
in 2003, the festivities take place not only in the village of M’hamid but also
in a specially constructed nomadic camp set out in the dunes some twelve miles
away. Attracting artists from Brazil, France and Spain, the event is still
small-scale, so head here while you can to beat the crowds.
Rose Festival, El Kella M’Gouna - Held in late May, the Rose
Festival is a colourful celebration of the harvest of the Dades Valley’s Damask
roses. At the festival you can expect to find stalls selling all kinds of rose
oils and other rose products, as well as showers of rose petals, singing and
Gnawa and World Music Festival, Essaouira – This festival is
one of Morocco’s best-known music festivals, attracting more than 400 musicians
spanning a variety of genres. Gnawa bands, Moroccan musicians and international
artists can all be seen bringing the streets of the already lively coastal
resort of Essaouira to life.
Marrakech Popular Arts Festival, Marrakech – This ten-day
party turns Marrakech into a huge open-air theatre. Whether it’s in a lavish
former palace, in the heart of the bustling Jemaa el Fna or simply out on the
streets, you’ll be captivated by the traditional music played by performers
from all over the country.
Moussem of Moulay Idriss II, Fes – Taking place either in
late September or early October, this is one of the more popular examples of a
moussem, a traditional honouring of saints practiced throughout the country.
Thousands gather outside the tomb, where processions of brotherhoods pass to
pay tribute to their saint, who founded Morocco as well as the city of Fes.
Date Festival, Erfoud – Located at the entrance to the
Sahara, the otherwise sleepy village of Erfoud comes to life with this
celebration of the harvest of delicious dates. Along with the free date
tastings, the village also comes to life with performances of Gnawa and Berber
December Marrakech International Film Festival, Marrakech - Screening
over a hundred films across the week, the Marrakech International Film Festival
is North Africa’s answer to Cannes. It now attracts a wealth of global stars to
its red carpets, and has continued to grow in popularity substantially since it
was established in 2001.