Festivals in Morocco
If there is one thing that everyone loves in morocco, it is a Morocco festival. Each year, several festivals are held in Morocco and this means that when you travel to the amazing country, you are going to be taking part in a tradition of festivals that has gone back for centuries. The festivals in Morocco may come and go, but the spirit of the festival always lives on.
As the premier Morocco tour operator, Sahara Soul Travel is here to make sure that when you travel to Morocco, you get to enjoy the festivals in Morocco as part of your vacation.
Here is some of the top festivals in the country. Let us plan your festivals in Morocco journey and you can find out why Morocco is such a festive place to be!
Fez Festival of World Sacred Music 2009: June 6 to 14 Fez
Artists from around the world come out to enjoy this festival in Morocco. It is held in the spiritual capital of Morocco, Fez, and it has come to include different styles of music from all over the planet, including Sufi chants, Pakistani qawwali incantations, Egyptian madhi odes, ancient gwalior chants and many more. It is one of the most popular festival in Morocco and it sees participants and artists from Morocco, France, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Egypt, Israel, Senegal, Poland, the U.S., Greece and India.
Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival 2009: June 26 to 29 Essaouira
The Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival celebrates the mysterious music of the Gnaouas. Best known for their tasseled hats (which spin wildly as the musicians rock, entranced by their own music), Gnaoua is the music of the descendants of slaves who were brought to Morocco from "black Africa." Since 1998, the festival has been held in Essaouira, a picturesque port painted in blue and white that is the ideal resort that most travelers dream of when they think of North Africa: laid-back and yet vibrant, atmospheric, and relaxing. The town’s status as an independent travelers’ favorite makes it the perfect venue for a festival devoted to the feats of the Gnaouas. Originating through a cross-pollination of African magic and Islamic rituals, the mesmerizing rhythms of drums, guenbri (a form of lute) and hand-held garagab (metal castanets) lead performers into a trance-like state. In this extraordinary melting pot of music, artists appearing at the festival include the best musicians of the genre as well as players of jazz, pop, rock, and contemporary music.
Marrakech Folklore Festival 2009: July 11 to 15 Marrakech
One of the most popular festivals in Morocco is the Marrakech Popular Arts Festival. Marrakech is known to individuals all over the world thanks to rock songs and movies, however few know about the festival outside of Morocco. This is a same because there are few Morocco festivals that beat this one. During the festival, folk performances dominate the Djemaa el-Fna square in Marrakech. The week-long event is set against the wonderful backdrop of the 16th century El Badi palace, where performers and spectators pack the massive courtyards of the palace.
Come to this Morocco festival and listen to the Berber musicians of the High Atlas mountains, the Andalus-inspired musicians of the north and the trancelike music of the southern Gnaouas. It is truly a Morocco festival to behold.
Rose Festival 2009: May 14 to 27 El-Kelaâ M’Gouna
Held in El-Kelaa M’Gouna, this festival is easily the best smelling festival in Morocco. Held each year when the area is awash in Persian roses, giving the entire landscape a pink color, the city uses the petals, ten tones of them, to make a beautiful oil as part of the festival. If you love wonderful smells, beautiful landscapes and roses, then check out this Morocco festival.
Imilchil Marriage Festival 2009: August 25 to 27 Imilchil
We guarantee you have never seen a wedding like this. Each year, up to 40 couples tie the knot on this special day in Imilchil, a city in the Middle-High Atlas Mountains. The festival features Berber musical performances and excellent shopping in the markets that springs up for the festival. According to legend, a man and woman from two local tribes fell in love, but were forbidden by their families. They cried themselves to death, creating the lakes of Issly (his) and Tisslit (hers) near Imilchil. The families were so devastated by this, they created a day on the anniversary of the lovers’ death to which members of the two tribes could marry.Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these guys!
During the festival, women are made up in traditional dress and the husbands will brose the goods on offer. If the groom is successful, the woman says ‘You captured my liver’ and the match is settled.
This is truly, one of the most unique festivals in Morocco, if not the entire world!
Cherry Festival 2009: June 11 to 24 Sefrou
Held in Sefrou, near Fez, the festival takes place on the ground of thousands of cherry trees, helping the town celebrate the harvest with music, dance and markets. The entire event takes palace within the walls of this town, whose structures date back more than 1,500 years! Sporting competitions are common in this Morocco festival, along with a torchlight procession, faire grounds and the crowning of the cherry queen. If you love cherries, you will love this Morocco festival.
Wax Lantern Procession 2009: April 22 Salé
Held in the old pirate town of Sale, yes we said pirate town, you can come out and celebrate a 16th century holy man in a truly unique Morocco festival; the Wax Lantern Procession.The pirates are long gone, but the history of the town as a rough place is celebrated. No longer rough at all, but it was once an interesting place to be. In fact, Robinson Crusoe, in the classic book, arrived as a captive through the town’s gates!
The Morocco festival held here is in honor of Sidi Abdallah Ben Hassoun, the patron saint of travelers. His shrine is visited each year by a procession of sailors dressed in pirate regalia, holding wax lanterns on poles. This procession dates back to the Barbary period when Corsairs carried wax lanterns in process to implore his protection before a long voyage. If you love history and the sea, this is a Morocco festival to check out.
Camel Festival 2009: JulyGoulimime
Did you know Morocco had a large population of camels? Well, chances are you did. Come out and enjoy the Camel Festival, which will invoke images of Lawrence of Arabia in your mind. Located in Goulimime, this festival celebrates the now disappearing transportation of the camel. The festival also offers you the chance to see the ancient dance of the Guedra. Performed by women who dance to the beat of a drum made of a kitchen pot, while onlookers chant and clap. Truly a Morocco festival to see!
Date Festival 2009: October Erfoud
Morocco is the date capital of the world. No, not that kind of date, the fruit! These dates are an important part of the Moroccan culture and to celebrate it, they hold a Morocco festival called the Date Feast in Erfoud. The area boasts one million date palms and is the center of festivities for the festival. There is processions, music, folk dance and lots of Moroccan cuisine!
Almond Tree Blossom Festival 2009: February Tafraoute
After the red expanses of desert, the small town of Tafraoute, near Agadir, makes for refreshing viewing in the early spring. Officially the almond capital of Morocco, the area is as famous for its produce as for the spectacle provided by the almond trees in full blossom amid the ochre red walls of the village between the pink cliffs of the Anti-Atlas mountains. This ephemeral sight of natural beauty gives otherwise peaceful Tafraoute a party atmosphere, as a colorful souk springs up, complete with dancers, musicians and storytellers.