Celebration is an important aspect of Moroccan culture. Morocco is an exciting and entertaining country that lays claim to cultural, historical and religious holidays and festivals. At any given point of the year there is a Moroccan city or Berber community hosting glorious festivities. Moroccan celebrations can last anywhere from a few days up to two weeks. There are hundreds of local festivals and mouassems in Morocco. The dates when Morocco Festivals and moussems are someimes decided by religious authorites consulting the moon so dates oftheseevents are sometimes not announced very far ahead . Here are some of the more well known ones with exact dates in 2013, where available.
January Morocco Festivals
Marrakech International Marathon 2013 – Marrakech Tensift El Haouz ,Sunday, 27 January 2013
Departing from the Avenue de la Menara behind the Sofitel Hotel, the Marrakech International Marathon covers a distance of 42.195 kms (or 21.097 kms for half-marathon) the route winds its way through some of the city’s most picturesque attractions.
February Morocco Festivals
The Almond Blossom Festival
This beautiful spectacle takes place in Tafraoute where the trees are in full blossom for only a short time and whose colours greatly admired. The festival includes singing, dancing and other performances by the locals.
March Morocco Festivals
International Magic Festival at Marrakech 19-22 March 2013
The annual magic festival is held in Marrakech and has several performances by both international magicians and up and coming local artists. The festival has performances at the Royal Theatre in Marrakech and there is plenty of magic being
performed on the streets as well.
April Morocco Festivals
The Sand Marathon
The Sand Marathon is an incredibly gruelling marathon that covers 150 miles and lasts for 11 days. The marathon takes place in Ouarzazate, usually towards the beginning of April.
Grand Prix Hassan II
This popular motor racing event attracts some the very best players on the ATP World Tour and takes place at the Complexe Al Amal in Casablanca… more about the Grand Prix Hassan II
May Morocco Festivals
The Mawazine Festival 24 May – 1 June 2013.
This modern festival takes place in the city of Rabat and has several artists performing concerts that range from top international performers to local artists, past performing stars include Elton John and Sting. Also on offer are art exhibitions and plenty of street entertainers to keep the huge crowds entertained.
Marrakech Grand Prix . This event has been revived and takes place in Marrakech 13-15 April 2013.
Desert Music Festival
The Desert music Festival offers an outstanding selection of music genres that ranges from traditional Moroccan music to music from international musicians from around the world. The event takes place annually in Errachidia.
Festival of the Roses in the Dades Valley in mid May, a small oasis town called Kelaa-des-Mgouna is home to Morocco’s largest rose water distillery plant. The entire town is fragrant and the spectacular harvest in May is celebrated with song and dance.
June Morocco Festivals
Fes Sacred Music Festival Saturday, 7 – 15 June 2013.
The festival offers a wide range of traditional music performed by both Moroccan musicians and those from around the world.
Under the theme of “Fes: Reflections of Andalusia, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music” is one of the premier events presented by the Spirit of Fes Foundation. The stated goal of the Festival is to harness the power of the arts and spirituality to promote human and social development, and the relationships between peoples and varying cultures.
Essaouira Gnawa and World Music Festival ,Essaouira 20-23 June 2013.
This music festival based on the traditions of Gnawa music has grown to include musicians from all over the world. This successful annual festival has been around for a decade and venues are dotted all around the picturesque town of Essaouira.
The origins Gnawa music lie in a unique mixture of Berber, African and Arabic songs, religious rites and dance and was originally the music of African slaves.
July Morocco Festivals
The 48th Marrakech Popular Arts Festival (FNAP)
The festival features traditional Berber music, singing dancing, story tellers and entertainers and takes place in the vibrant and bustling city of Marrakech. A full stage showof different regional tribal dancing expertly chereographed led by Maawalems takes place in the floodlit Badi Palace with other concerts and peformances taking place in other locations in the city.
August Morocco Festivals
Imilchil Marriage Festival August/September
This unique event is steeped in tradition and takes place in the village of Imichil close to Marrakech. The event provides local Berbers the opportunity to meet and agree to marry, with everyone wearing traditional dress along with plenty of music and dancing. Exact date for 2013 not yet announced.
Festival of Fantasia
The Festival of Fantasia or Tbourida involves traditionally dressed berber riders and their mounts charging with flintlocks which they fire with a thunderous roar at the end of the charge. It takes place in Meknes usually towards the beginning of the month, and offers participants the chance to show off their horses, riding ability and timing.
September Morocco Festivals
Imilchil is located high up in the lake plateau of the Middle Atlas Mountains inMorocco. In this quaint village you will find primarily Berber tribal clans who have a strong sense of culture and tradition that has been preserved for decades. The Imilchil Marriage Festival is the prime attraction of this village and takes place annually in September. Each September, the surrounding tribes, Aït Sokham and AïtBouguemmaz celebrate the Imilchil Marriage Festival, held in Souk Aam and Agdoud N’Oulmghenni. This festival, also known as September Romance, features the Aït Yaazza culture of an annual collective marriage where women search and choose their husband.
October Morocco Festivals
2-3 October El Jadida Horse Show. This is major international event including horse jumping,dressage and fantasia.
Tissa Horse Festival
The Tissa Horse Festival is held near Fes and provides the opportunity for hundreds of riders to compete against each other and show off their beautiful mounts and skills as horsemen.
Erfoud Date Festival Late September/ early October.
More than a million date palms are grown in the Erfoud region and after harvest, the party really starts. Local tribesmen come together for a 3 day festival dedicated to the sticky and delicious date. Berber tents play host to traditional dancing, food and music. There’s also a dromedary race
November Morocco Festivals
Tan Tan Moussem
This is a traditional festival gathering, of nomadic tribal members who come together in celebration of their culture and religion. The event takes place towards the end of November or beginning of December in the town of Tan Tan, to the south of Morocco.
Eid Al Adha Festival
During this annual festival, the Prophet Abraham is honoured with the sacrifice of a ram, goat or cow.
December Morocco Festivals
Casablanca International Art Fair
The art fair offers a huge selection of art forms such as sculptures and photography as well as workshops to participate in. The event takes place in the Exchange Office in Casablanca usually at the beginning of the month