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.

February

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.

March

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.

May

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 dancing.

June

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.

July

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.

September

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.

October

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 music.

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.