Morocco displays a wealth of cultural aspects and age-old customs and traditions through the various festivals that take place throughout the year. The local people and the Moroccan cities are extremely lively and they love to make every celebration an important aspect.
Fez Festival of World Sacred Music
A 10-day magical festival that takes place in the royal city of Fez in the month of May. The festival was founded by Faouzi Skaliand, the famous scholar and was created to display major musical traditions, comprising of spiritual and sacred world music. The Fez Festival is unique and has its roots even in Sufi music that can be enjoyed after sundown at the Dar Tazi Gardens.
Gnaoua Music Festival
It’s mysterious and takes place in a UNESCO World Heritage seaside resort town of Essaouira! The Gnaoua Music Fest is celebrated each year in the month of June and since long, it has been considered as one of the finest anchorages of the Moroccan coast.
The festival attracts a cosmopolitan mass of 600,000 music lovers and offers a wonderful rich program to enjoy jazz music, local art displays, international musical groups and other budding artists. This festival also encourages the newer generations to adapt the essence of music and age-old traditions as well as keep the culture alive.
Timitar Music Festival in Agadir
Held in July each year, the Timitar festival is the leading festival showcasing Amazigh and African culture and traditions. Featuring approximately 50 artists and 500,000 spectators, this festival provides an amazing, well-rooted cultural event that promotes Souss Massa Draa culture.
What distinguishes Timitar from other musical festivals is its main focus on the Amazigh culture (Berbers or Amazighs are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa. They occupy the area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River).
Imilchil Marriage Festival
The Imilchil is situated high up in the lake region of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. This peaceful village usually attracts people to it’s unique Imilchil Marriage Festival each September. Also known as ‘September Romance’, the festival also features an ancient culture where unmarried people gather and the women get to chose their husband.
Roughly, 40,000 people gather from the neighbouring mountains under the tents with their cattle. During this occasion, young girls dress up in their finest and dance for hours.
The men tend to nod and wink to show their interest and a friend accompanying the man helps to select the bride. The bride needs to say the magic words – “you have captured my liver or my liver pines for you”. This means the couple have found true love in each other and once they both agree, they can hold hands and continue the dance together.
Hidden among the Oases of the Dades Valley, lies a heavenly town of El-Kelaa M’Gouna, commonly known as the Valley of the Roses. The town displays a landscape of famous pink Persian roses. These roses also produce other goods such as body soaps, oil, perfumes, creams as well as dried flowers.
During the month of May, a three-day Rose Festival takes place in the Valley of Roses, inviting travellers from all over the region to attend the frivolities and festivals. Apart from the aromatic roses all around, the festival also boasts delicious food along with tribal singing and dancing.
The goal of the celebration is for rose farmers to observe the year’s crops and to celebrate the beauty of creation. The Rose Festival is one of the prettiest and most popular celebrations in Morocco.